This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Most Americans don’t think much these days about the lingering war in Afghanistan because American troops at some level have been fighting there since about a month after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
That said, for years majorities of voters have indicated they support withdrawing from the southwest Asian country without delay — and credit to former President Donald Trump for at least trying to do that.
The desire to get out is often heightened by the absurd, especially when it comes to the amount of taxpayer dollars successive U.S. administrations and congresses have poured into Afghanistan for decades — and continue to spend there.
Now, a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction notes that the U.S. has spent $787 million on “gender equality projects” in Afghanistan since 2002, though “harmful socio-cultural norms” kept those projects from reaching fruition. It is like a theft of American taxpayers.
Like it not, in Afghanistan, women simply do not have the same social status as men. It’s a largely Islamic society and as such, women are relegated to secondary or tertiary roles. Again, as Americans, most of us find such treatment of women offensive, but Afghanistan is not America, so trying to overlay a Western cultural norm on a country whose people and traditions are diametrically opposed to them is going to generate a lot of pushback.
Nevertheless, there were some small gains, the report noted:
• Girls’ access to education is constrained by the lack of female teachers and infrastructure, and pressures on girls to withdraw from school at puberty.
• A lack of female healthcare providers, restrictive sociocultural practices, lack of education, and prohibitive costs pose barriers to women seeking health care.
• The quality of health care and education remains a problem, and education gains have been largely at the primary school level.
• Gains across sectors have been geographically uneven, with rural women and girls experiencing significantly less improvement overall.
• Women who have ventured into non-traditional and historically male-dominated areas—such as the media, security forces, and politics—are at higher risk of retaliation by the Taliban and anti-government elements.
• Gender disparity is still a persistent characteristic of the Afghan labor force.
“Men in our community think the role of women is to sit at home and cook,” one woman from Nangarhar Province told officials conducting SIGAR-commissioned interviews. “If their mothers tell them to behave well with their wives, so they do, and if their mothers order them to beat their wives and misbehave, so they also do.”
As for whether or not the decades-long American and Western military presence is doing much good, these days or in years past, one Afghan male said security is worse now than it ever was under the Taliban’s rule.
“When the Americans arrived here, there [were] security incidents on a daily basis on the highways,” said a male community development member from Kunar Province. “We could not travel to Jalalabad at that time without fear, but now one can travel to Jalalabad even at 1 a.m. without feeling any security concerns because the Americans are not here anymore.”
Notes John Hawkins at Bongino.com: “We dropped more than 787.4 million dollars trying to promote “gender equality” to tribal cavemen and people are just now realizing that’s an investment that’s unlikely to bear significant fruit? How is that even possible? We’re going to try to convince tribesmen who believe women are property that exist to be bred and serve men and we want them to conclude those women are now their equals? Just because we told them so? It’s moronic.”