Talk:Taliban treatment of women

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Removed a section that was basically a big conspiracy theory (based on the "No original research"-rule), and modified it's surroundings to make it grammatically coherent.

I'd like to point out a few things about this article that seem to require clarification or amending. - Exaggerated claims: Can this be substantiated? This does not seem to be the consensus on the issue. - The policies were not popular outside Afghanistan: It should probably be noted that some Muslims felt these were in accordance to the Qur'an. - The anti-U.S. government stance: I actually agree that this was probably the case, but such accusations don't belong into an encyclopedia article. Seriously. --some anon

I made a slight change to the article in response to a long comment posted here on talk -- it is certainly true that the Taliban abuses of men were horrific. (You can see that comment in the revision history, and if the author wants, we can move it back here, but I'm hoping we can keep this talk page pretty clean as a 'working discussion', not a permanent litany of complaints.)

I added back the explanation for the U.S. attack on Afghanistan. Taw had removed it, calling it bullshit, and so I invite him to come and explain why. It certainly seems relevant to the history of the situation, and omitting it doesn't give the true picture. --Jimbo Wales

Nobody ever proved that there is a link between Taliban and WTC attack. Don't listen to US propaganda. --Taw

It doesn't matter if the link was proven or not. It's still the reason for the US attack. --Jimbo Wales

It's the pretext not the reason. --Taw

Then say so! The sentence is now worded as a claim by the US government. Whether or not the claim is accurate or jusitified is a separate issue, but the fact remains that this is the reason given for the attack, and that should be mentioned here. --LDC 16:55, 2001 December 11

Excellent change, LDC. Thanks. Taw, what do you think the reason it, then? --Jimbo Wales 16:58, 2001 December 11

Extending area of US control of course. The same reason why British, Soviets and Germans attacked various countries. --Taw 17:02, 2001 December 11

I don't think you understand America very well, Taw. --Jimbo Wales

Nobody ever proved that there is a link between either Taliban or bin laden and WTC attack. Don't listen to US propaganda. if you know arabic, you would notice binladen is "Happy" about the WTC attack, but never claimed responsibility -- User: 10:28, 2002 March 3

At this point, I would say that the US has enough probable cause to arrest and bring to trial OBL. HOWEVER, much of the real infomation is obviously top secrete at this point. So your statement is also propaganda. BTW sign your statemets in the future - not doing so is plain rude. --maveric149

Moved this comment to the /talk (seemed to be advice on writing not article text):

(topics to be fleshed out?)

  • Education for Women and Girls

  • Employment for Women
  • Dress codes for Women

Each section should attempt to accurately characterize (a) what the Taliban decreed (b) what the Taliban actually enforced, and to what extent they softened over time, looked the other way, or simply were unable to enforce due to a lack of resources (c) what the penalties were for violations, (d) other stuff like that.

Also removed stuff about terrorist attack that seemed irrelevent (and added needless controversy). It's late. I would have liked to add some actual content on the "exagerated claims".

I still have some things i would like to add to this article so it is a work in progress. Do you have any suggestions of what should be added? --Rmantle


I added the tag noting the necessity of citations, and removed some material that seems pretty dubious and needs to be cited if it is going to be included in this article. Jrkarp 22:58, 5 January 2006 (UTC)


I tried to tidy this a little, but it could use some sources. I'll look for some if I have time. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:45, 7 June 2006 (UTC)


As a Pashtun, I found this article to be extremely offensive especially when it ties Pashtunwali with extremist interpretation of Islam. Has this article written by some one from Petagon or US/NATO military?Fateh

Agreed this article is terribly biased, there is a link to a video showing a public execution! Some of the "Further Reading" is a work of fiction! Unusually there are unreferenced quotes, which don't particularly add to the facts but rather to the dramatic effect. I agree as much as anyone that this is intolerable cruelty, but if that justifies bias then why not edit the pages of Savak, the Rwandan Genocide, the Holocaust, Khomemni, Pol Pot, Khemer Rouge, many of the Shahs, the list of atrocities worse than this is endless, none are tolerable, all are disgusting and gross violations of human rights, but this website should publish facts, not opinions.

@Fateh You can feel free to be offended as much as you want, but "..the Taliban have turned the clock back on women's rights in Afghanistan by instituting a policy based on a mixture of conservative Deobandi teachings and traditional Pushtunwali conceptions of a women's place..." [Larry Goodson, @Afghnaistna's Endless War, Univ of Washington Press]. The academic books say you're wrong. (06:42, 13 January 2011 (UTC)) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Zarmina's execution[edit]

I don't think that Zarmina's execution is a good example of Taliban's cruelty. She murdered a human and was put to death. I'm all against death penalty, let alone public death penalties but I suggest that we remove the picture and comments.
Northern 02:19, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

The article is about Taliban treatment of women. The treatment of women cited in the article doesn't have to cruel, it just has to be treatment. So maybe the question ought to be what about the execution pictured is specifically treatment of women as opposed to treatment of those accused and convicted of murder in general.
For example, did traditional differences in weighing of evidence between men and women (two women's testimony is worth that of one man's) play a part in her conviction? (please sign your name when posting) --Leroy65X 15:41, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

I disagree - Zarmina's execution is a CLASSIC example of the patriarchal treatment of women; she was executed for killing her violently abusive husband after all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:55, 12 June 2008 (UTC) Also, the reason she killed the bastard was that that night, he said he was going to report her to the Taliban for adultery, wherupon she would be stoned to death - read the full story here, and try and imagine what you would do in her position before judging her execution as legitimate - Jonathan Handforth, 12/06/08 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

I can't imagine we'd use an image of a convicted murderer being executed for the Women in Japan article; and see absolutely no reason to use it here; especially when it is copyrighted and watermarked, and we have a freely-licensed alternative available that is more neutral. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 09:16, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Sherurcij and SlimVirgin: you are both invited to discuss the topic here. I would like to address this issue, but I would like to hear from SlimVirgin as well. Sherucij, I would like to point out that your "version" of events in regards to the woman being a "convicted murderer" has been cast in doubt by various news reports. I suggest you review the evidence. In other words, this image and event illustrate the topic. You are free, of course, to continue to maintain the POV of the Taliban, but you must agree that there is another side to the story. Viriditas (talk) 09:22, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Stating that the execution of a murderer is an inappropriate image for a "Women in X" article means I'm taking "the point of view of the Taliban"?! My goodness, here I thought I was just campaigning for a neutral and balanced encyclopaedia that would put something like the story of a "possibly wrongfully convicted person who was executed in a country" on a page like Capital Punishment in Afghanistan or Wrongful convictions, not "Women in X". Would we put Timothy Evans as the poster child of Welsh people? Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 09:32, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Sherucij, the so-called "murderer" claims to have not committed the act, and the secret trial and execution did not exactly amount to a fair trial. If you want to take up the POV of the Taliban, you are welcome to do so, but please do not continue to violate the NPOV policy by removing relevant information and sources that cast doubt on your position. Please take a break from this article and let others deal with it. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 09:36, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
There are plenty of "unfair trials" in Canada, in Japan and in Russia...but I doubt Women in Russia would use its main image as execution footage of a convicted murderer. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 09:51, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but if you can't discuss this topic, where secret trials and executions of women is topical and relevant, then your off-topic comments will be dismissed. Address this topic or don't reply. Viriditas (talk) 10:01, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Unless the "secret trials" of women were different, unique or in some way notable compared to the "secret trials" of men, then the notion of "secret trials" does not belong in an article on Taliban laws governing female conduct. It may belong in another article (possibly even one not yet created), but "omg, based on what I've read I think X was not afforded a fair trial" isn't really relevant to whether or not it is fair to use a copyrighted, watermarked photograph of the execution of a convicted murderer (her guilt or innocence is not relevant), when a neutral image of women living in Afghanistan under taliban rule is available, and freely-licensed. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 10:14, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
The secret trials of women are indeed relevant to their treatment and whether Zarmina received a fair trial or not for a crime she may not have committed is also relevant. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective on the world, but we have reliable sources that are at odds with your assessment. WP:OTHERSTUFF is not a valid argument and you do not get to pick and choose what is or is not important. Viriditas (talk) 10:19, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

October overhaul[edit]

Sherucij, I'm not clear why you removed this information:

They faced public flogging[1] and execution for violations of the Taliban's laws.[2] [3]

This information is relevant to the topic. Viriditas (talk) 09:27, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Men also faced flogging and execution...that is an issue of law, not of women. Would we also say "Women wore shoes"? If the stated fact is identical for men and women, it doesn't belong in a "Women in X" article. If we have a reference suggesting women had different punishments than men, we should include it. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 09:32, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Sherucij, this article is about women and their treatment. Please stop with POV deletions and bad faith edits. Your most recent edits cannot be taken seriously, as you added fact tags to material after removing the relevant sources. If this behavior continues, I may have to file a report. Viriditas (talk) 09:34, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Please provide evidence to suggest I ever removed a source and then added a fact tag. The tags I added were to facts that had no citation at any time. Please stop suggesting otherwise. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 09:36, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Evidence? You removed sources supporting the material in the lead and added fact tags.[1] You continue to do this and claim that aren't doing it? I'm sorry, but you cannot be taken seriously. Frankly, you should be reverted on sight as a vandal. Viriditas (talk) 09:43, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Please pay close attention to the edits before criticising them, none of the fact tags were appended after statements which ever had sources. Thus, I did not "remove sources and then add fact tags", they were completely separate issues. I removed facts unrelated to the "Taliban treatment of women", such as an unnamed villager's quote about her burqa stealing her face, and added fact tags to statements like "Women were forbidden to appear on the balconies of their apartments or houses." Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 09:51, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
All of your deletions and addition of fact tags are in question. Please defend them or self-revert. Viriditas (talk) 10:02, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Since you are reduced now to what is essentially name-calling, can I assume you retract the accusation that I added fact tags to statements after removing their sources? Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 10:17, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
You are apparently reduced to dishonesty, since you have not addressed my question nor do you intend to do so except by continually distracting from the topic. Viriditas (talk) 10:21, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Sherucij, I don't understand why you removed sourced information from Latifa (ISBN 0786869011) with the edit summary, encyclopedias don't quote random unnamed strangers opinions. It's getting difficult to continue assuming good faith with you, so I'm going to ask you very nicely to stop removing material from the article before discussing it here. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 09:31, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Because if a newspaper says "One local resident said that the proposed railroad station would mean he could no longer rock his child to sleep on his front porch", we surely wouldn't put that under the National Rail System article, right? We don't quote random villagers opinions and stories, we are an encyclopaedia, not a human-interest story. The fact one woman had an interesting story to tell about how the Burqa affected her is not something you'd find if you looked up Burqa in an encyclopaedia, just like how looking up Whales wouldn't turn up "One Finnish sailor once said that whales were "the angels of the seas". Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 09:35, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
The source is relevant and has been widely covered by reliable secondary sources. Your edits are a violation of NPOV. Viriditas (talk) 09:43, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
The source for a Finnish sailor saying that whales are "the angels of the seas" may be relevant and covered by reliable secondary sources, that doesn't mean it belongs in the article Whales. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 09:52, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Address this topic or don't reply. Viriditas (talk) 10:02, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I am addressing this topic. I am stating that a single non-notable person's quote to a reporter regarding their personal experience with bicycles, burqas or belugas does not belong in an Encyclopaedia article about that subject. We deal in facts, not amusing tales, woeful stories or cute adages. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 10:17, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
The person in question is notable and has published a notable book that has been covered by reliable secondary sources. Clearly, you are not interested in facts nor do you have any experience dealing with them. Viriditas (talk) 10:21, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Sherurcij, there's clearly no consensus for these changes, so could you please leave the article as it is while your proposals are dicussed? SlimVirgin talk|edits 10:37, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
(outdent) Since there are a wide number of changes, ranging from the addition of approximately a dozen fact tags, three clarify tags, two who-tags, simple NPOV wording ("forced" versus "required") and additional sources (the condemnation by Amnesty and the United Nations for example), it seems strange to insist that everything be reverted. Instead, as Viriditas has done, please raise specific objections to any changes, or revert single edits that you feel need discussion first. Edit-warring is not the answer, I've already put up an RfC. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 10:45, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Image placement[edit]

As much as I hate to defend that Taliban (but then I guess adherence to NPOV must mean we insist on fairness even for these people), the use of that execution image in the lead is utterly unjustifiable. The lead image normally serves to represent the subject, and should exhibit some balance - or some level of typicality. Putting a public execution in the lead fails that entirely. It is exactly what I'd do if I was writing a campaign piece for Amnesty International or some Human rights campaign, because it shocks the reader by drawing their attention to the worst abuse. But we are an encyclopedia NOT a campaign piece. The image should be demoted in the article, if it justifies its fair use claim at all.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 22:52, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

I've moved the image down, and inserted something more generic - an image of women in Burqas.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 22:55, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
The image does represent typicality. Women were treated worse than dogs -- no education after the age of eight, and until then one not worth having; had to keep the curtains closed at home in case anyone saw them; not allowed to be treated medically without a male relative; beaten in the street if someone saw an arm or a leg; executed in public and in front of their children, and on and on. It reached the point of educated women becoming mentally ill from the sheer boredom of the restrictions, which amounted to incarceration. So this image is sadly very typical of their treatment.
It's bad enough that this material has been moved out of the main page, but for people to try to whitewash it even here is really unacceptable. NPOV does not mean we say, "On the one hand, 2 plus 2 appears to equal four. On the other hand, there are those who refuse to accept it." No, what we ought to be doing here is reflecting the consensus view of the reliable English-language sources we rely on. SlimVirgin talk|edits 23:11, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Oh come one. Sure women are treated terribly under the taliban. I'm not suggesting otherwise. But they are not "typically" shot in carparks. No education after age eight is really really bad, but being typically shot in a carpark is of a slightly different magnitude. NPOV does mean we give facts, but don't use articles to convey our distaste or further (justified) campaigning.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 23:25, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
It wasn't a car park. It was a football stadium financed by the European Union. When it was pointed out to the Taliban that they really ought to use it for football, they asked the EU to finance a second one. Women were routinely executed there in front of their children for violation of the Taliban's law, after trials that involved no due process whatsoever. Look at the video -- she can't even see what's being done to her. There is nothing "campaigning" about this video (what would I be campaigning for?). It is entirely factual and representative. SlimVirgin talk|edits 23:29, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
It is utterly shocking and disgraceful, no argument. But we should not use the most shocking image we can find as a typical representation.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 23:34, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Scott, we need some common sense here, with respect. Had it not been for the perennial threats of death and physical violence, the Taliban would not have been able to control the women who were, after all, at least 51 per cent of the population. They would also not have been able to control the men who were inclined to help women, except for the few who were willing to risk their lives e.g. by educating women in underground schools. So the executions and public beatings are absolutely key to understanding their reign. They are the typical representations, because it was truly a reign of terror. SlimVirgin talk|edits 00:40, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
With respect, I'd suggest that that's a thesis. It may be correct, but it may also be that public beheadings are examples of the worst of their treatment, and the most shocking to our sensibilities. To choose the most shocking aspect and offer it as a typical representation of the whole, isn't what we should be doing. The article is damning enough without it (not that damning people should be the aim).--Scott MacDonald (talk) 00:49, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Can I ask how much you've read about the Taliban? That is, are you coming to this from a position of knowledge? I don't meant that disrespectfully. I'm genuinely interested. SlimVirgin talk|edits 00:57, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
A bit, but I'd rather stay away from asserting my personal expertise to bolster any comments on a subject. I've certainly studied enough social anthropology to know that theories about what causes control and behaviour are very subjective. Violence is often believed to be key, but whether it is the dramatic ritual example, or the daily domestic is going to be even more interpretative. Any such theories can certainly be recoded (with attribution) in the article, but using them as a justification for order the article to suggest that the extreme is the linchpin on which the routine rests, goes beyond NPOV.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 01:02, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. Would you propose the same argument to remove the "shocking" image of a beaten slave from the lead section of Slavery in the United States? The execution of women by the Taliban is the control mechanism behind their subjugation and is directy relevant to this article. It belongs in the lead section, not to "shock" as you suggest, but to inform and educate the reader as to why women are unable to receive better treatment. An image of a woman in a burqa does not have any impact as it downplays the very threat they face by implicitly asserting that the poor treatment of women by the Taliban is merely a culture clash that is misunderstood by the west. You aren't promoting NPOV, rather the opposite. You are pretending that the treatment of women by the Taliban is just a matter of wearing uncomfortable clothing in warm weather, and that these women are only facing a minor inconvenience that will soon remedy itself when they return home. I'm sure you would change the image of the disfigured, beaten slave in the slavery article to that of a sweating black man in the cotton fields if you had the chance, for "NPOV", no doubt. I'm not convinced by your argument. Viriditas (talk) 01:43, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Hold on. I am certainly not "asserting that the poor treatment of women by the Taliban is merely a culture clash that is misunderstood by the west", and I'm not "pretending" anything. Indeed, that would be puerile and offensive - and please don't accuse me of it. Abuse is real all right. However, you are asserting an interpretive theory as a self-evident fact. You say we need the image "to inform and educate the reader as to why women are unable to receive better treatment". Well, can I ask you for sources? Sources that state that public executions are the reason why women don't get better treatment, rather than just an extreme manifestation of that poor treatment? Now, I'm aware that that interpretation exists, and I have some degree of sympathy with it, but it is an interpretation. Can you give me any sources that indicate it is more that an interpretation? If we are to "inform and educate the reader" to that conclusion, rather than just record it as a view, we need to be damn sure that that's it is widely held.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 01:53, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and I think I'd also object to an article on "Slavery in the US" that used a picture of a lynching in the lead, yes.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 01:59, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Huh? There is no mention of lynching in the Slavery in the United States article, so why would you have an image of it? On the other hand, such an image is appropriate for the lead section of an article entitled Treatment of African Americans in the Southern United States. Viriditas (talk) 08:43, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Please tell me what kind of sources you require and what they should say, and I will provide them as necessary. Viriditas (talk) 04:43, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
I came to ask the same question. There won't be any sources that say, "public executions are the reason why women don't get better treatment," because I'm not sure that sentence makes a lot of sense, and it wasn't a question of "better treatment." But I'm sure there are many sources who say that public executions were one of the main methods of keeping the population under control. Is that what you're asking for, or something else? SlimVirgin talk|edits 05:20, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

(unindent). OK. I've stated that I believe the image to represent the extreme end of the daily life and experience of woman under the Taliban. You appeared to me (and I could have you wrong) to be making the argument that it was "typical", on the basis that the more routine control and abuse is somehow "explained" by this extreme event; and that we need to ""inform and educate the reader" of this. I merely asked for evidence. If there is no evidence of this, as you now seem to suggest, then I'm not sure what your case for using this image as a typical representation is. Sorry, I may be misunderstanding the case here.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 14:42, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

I have to agree with Scott MacDonald that the use of a photo of a public execution is not neutral, just as Women in Japan would not use such a photo, even ignoring the fact it is a copyrighted image. The photo of the girls' school is much more neutral, as would an image (pre-2001) of women in Burqas walking on the street. (The current image is from 2005, so a little out of place). SlimVirgin seems to be showing extreme WP:OWNERSHIP problems, removing any attempt to make the article more neutral, remove WP:WEASEL words and add [citation needed] tags, insisting on a portrayal of the topic that paints it as completely demonic and morally unjustifiable. We are an encyclopaedia, we are not here to make moral judgments, we are here to impartially speak the facts without giving undue weight to say...a single execution by a government. Men were publicly executed, the same as women, so it doesn't even really relate to this article in the strictest sense. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 15:50, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Frankly, I think you are POV-pushing the opposite way. An image of a Taliban woman's school is tending to emphasise "hey they do educate women" and is (if true) over stressing the positive. I'd strongly suggest that an image that is neither suggesting the worst example (public executions), not seeing to be an apologetic for the Taliban, would be best. Both images can be used in context lower down. Indeed, what about no image at all in the lead, if we can't get a consensus on a neutral one. We certainly don't want an article that is spinning the Taliban in a "good light" (if such was ever possible).--Scott MacDonald (talk) 15:56, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Well I don't think it's POV-pushing to use an image of Japanese schoolchildren in the Women in Japan article, but I have no problem having the image moved down to the "Education" section where I've put it now, and having a generic image of pre-2001 women in Burqas as the main image. (or no image at all, as you suggest). My only concern with the current image is that they're not women living under the Taliban, they're women living under Coalition/Karzai rule in 2005. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 19:26, 27 October 2008 (UTC)


Sherurcij, all you do at this article is revert other editors back to your chosen version. Because there are objections, you need to go through the changes on talk to try to gain consensus. As things stand, you've violated 3RR at least a couple of times in the last few days. SlimVirgin talk|edits 19:08, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I revert mass-reverts, nothing else. If information is added, I am glad to see it. I've only "violated 3RR" in the sense of undoing vandalism that mass-reverts dozens of changes back to a single version which is undeniably POV ("forced" to wear Burqa instead of "required", "notorious" and similar POV Weasel words. These mass-reverts remove many new sources from pre-2001 news sources, clarification of details (Kabul's hospitals for example, it removes the second half of the story as "whitewashing" to point out that the Taliban reversed their stance, removes nearly a dozens requests for citation and clarification, removes templates and images, etc). There were dozens of new additions, if one of them presents a problem, revert it, or discuss it on the talk page. Do not mass-revert dozens of improvements to the article because you happen to have issues with WP:OWNERSHIP. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 19:23, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The "vandalism" was simply the removal of your changes, which several editors regard as a whitewash. Where you see that much disagreement, the onus is on you to come to talk to discuss your proposals. SlimVirgin talk|edits 19:29, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The removal of a {{clarify}} or {{fact}} tag, the removal of a {{taliban}} template, the re-introduction of weasel words...these do not constitute "disagreement". If you disagree with specific facts that were added, dispute them. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 19:32, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
That's not how it works and you know it. It's your changes that are in dispute here, so you must justify them. If good edits are reverted along with bad ones, all the more reason to come to talk and discuss them separately. SlimVirgin talk|edits 19:35, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Note: The article is now fully protected for a week, in which you have time to discuss the issue and get more input from other editors, using mechanisms like dispute resolution, third party opinions or request for comments. Please try to reach consensus and request unprotection afterwards, but not sooner. Regards SoWhy 19:34, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

OK, I think this article is a little unbalanced, however, I agree with SlimVirgin that Sherurcij's smacks of a whitewash. Between the two must be a balanced possibility. However, there's no change of getting that if each side assumed that they are correct and reverts to their chosen version. Since this is not a BLP, it matters little what version it is in in the shorter term; we can afford to be eventualist. It also matters little who is disagreeing with whom, and who needs to justify what. Whatever state this article ends up in, all aspects of it need to be justified by the sources anyway (and in saying that I'm not necessarily suggesting the current version isn't). Can I suggest that one side (either really) calmly lists their objections to what the other wants. We can then look at each issue separately; and that will work best if we don't try to defend our own position, but we try to see if the other has some valid point, and we then work together to see if there's something that can meet all valid point. I'm quite sure that all of us would admit the current article (as indeed any article) can always be improved. Neutrality is not a zero-sum game.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 19:57, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

That's a reasonable approach, but as we work on it we need to keep in mind that we don't get neutrality by crafting a compromise among those who choose to edit. We get it right by reflecting what the reliable sources say about how the Taliban treated women. If substantially all the reliable sources say they were/are a bunch of raving misogynistic bigots, then the page should reflect that. Tom Harrison Talk 23:04, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The problem I suspect isn't the facts it is how they are weighted and interpreted. That's always more difficult. Few sources will not be interpretative to some degree. One man's (sic) "misogynistic bigot" is another's hero of The Prophet. So our goal is to report interpretations (properly weighted) not give them. We may detest the Taliban, but the article should give some insight into their motives and justifications, and not just give a Western assessment, or mainstream Islamic view (although we should certainly record those too).--Scott MacDonald (talk) 23:13, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Tom Harrison, so long as we are talking about reasonable explanations, were you planning to offer a series of reasonable explanations for the series of excisions you made where you offered the brief and totally unhelpful edit summary "rv whitewash"?
Someone wrote above:
If substantially all the reliable sources say they were/are a bunch of raving misogynistic bigots, then the page should reflect that.
No matter how much we may disagree with their values, and their actions, I think it is a mistake to describe them as "Raving." Terms like that do not encourage a meaningful attempt to understand their culture -- necessary if we are going to write a good article.
Note: Many of the leaders of the Northern Alliance have just as repressive an attitude as the Taliban.
Sherurcij applied some {{fact}} tags. I agree with him, that those statements needed references. We can't really on "common knowledge" here. Those of you old enough to remember the 1991 Gulf War will remember there was a widely repeated, widely believed story about the Iraqi arrival in a maternity ward in Kuwait -- where they immediately started throwing premature Kuwaiti babies out of their incubators so they could ship them to Iraq.
The Kuwaiti Ambassador arranged a Press Conference, he had a young Kuwaiti girl who described being a volunteer in the Hospital, who described all this. The Ambassador assured the Press that there was a good reason for her identity to be withheld.
A year or two later it became known that the mystery girl was a liar, and a great actress. She wasn't a volunteer. She was the Ambassador's daughter, and the widely repeated, widely believed atrocity story was a huge hoax. Counting on "common knowledge" just leaves us open to repeating hoaxes.
If the horror stories about the Taliban can't be backed up good references they don't belong in article space.
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 06:18, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what planet you are posting from, but comparing the problems in this article to the Nurse Nayirah incident is way over the top. I'm willing to address each and every issue, one at a time. Why don't you start with just one? Viriditas (talk) 08:18, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
I am posting from a planet which has a wikipedia that has a policy on verifiability. Verifiability requires using sources, rather than common knowledge. I stand by my assertion that ignoring the requirement that controversial assertions should be attributed to a verifiable source leaves this article open to being spoofed, by hoaxsters.
You asked that I start with one? Okay, let's start with:
  • The modification of any place names that included the word "women." For example, "women's garden" was renamed "spring garden".
I drew that from a long list of assertions. Some had citations. Others didn't. I looked at the document cited. It listed versions of many of uncited assertions. But note, that document is undated and unsigned. I suggest it stands open to a challenge on whether it meets WP:RS. I suggest that if we decide this document satisfies WP:RS the list attribute the assertions to the source... "According to a list supplied by RAWA:"
Further we should not buy into the meme that things were fine for women prior to the Taliban, were terrible under them, and they are better now.
That same unsigned, undated document I referred to above made the point that the measures that repressed women were not introduced by the Taliban in 1995, but by the Rabbani regime that took nominal power in 1992.
Women continue to face repression under the Karzai adminstration.
Hamid Karzai's administration re-introduced the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
Would it be more encyclopedic to put this in context by having an article entitled something like: The status of women in modern Afghanistan?
Candidly, Geo Swan (talk) 13:55, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
This would be a lot easier if you could just keep your comments short and to the point. New section added below to do just this. Viriditas (talk) 14:30, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
The point you raise about the historical treatment of women in Afghanistan is a good one, and should be included in this article, as every good source discusses it in relation to the Taliban. Viriditas (talk) 14:34, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Geo Swan, any of Sherurcij's edits taken by itself might be fine. When all of them taken together produced a slanted rewrite, and that's a problem. As to 'raving', it may be a mistake for a reliable source to describe them as 'raving,' if any reliable source does. Unless we have one that does so, it doesn't matter except as an example. As I said, if 'raving' were what substantially all reliable sources say, then that's what we should say. My point being, we don't make up our own standard of neutrality, or our own vocabulary. We present, with due weight, the views of reliable sources. The result is neutrality. Tom Harrison Talk 22:15, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Viriditas about context. Should we keep the same article structure, or would some change in organization help? It might be as little as adding sections on the historical status of women in Afghanistan, and summarizing Human rights in Afghanistan. I don't have a lot of time right now, nor any particular expertise in the area, so it's mostly up to others. Tom Harrison Talk 22:15, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Restrictions Placed on Women by the Taliban[edit]

Resolved: Popularized by RAWA, sourced to journalist Christina Lamb in her book The Sewing Circles of Herat (2004), who names her source as Mullah Khalil Ahmed Hassani. Viriditas (talk) 00:48, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The modification of any place names that included the word "women." For example, "women's garden" was renamed "spring garden".[2]

Source: Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan[3] Also published in Women of Afghanistan Under the Taliban (2002; ISBN 0786410906) and other publications. Should be attributed to RAWA. Next? Viriditas (talk) 14:30, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. So how do you think it should be attributed to RAWA? Do you regard it is worth mention that RAWA hasn't listed any of the penal codes, or reasonable equivalent, from which it compiled its list?
So, am I missing something? Was Sherurcij entitled to place {{cn}} against unsourced assertions?
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 16:43, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
There will be different opinions on this, but to me, this looks like a classic "list to prose" problem. In other words, I would prefer to see the list incorporated into prose with references at the end. Here's a similar example of how the State Department does it:

Violence against women remained a serious problem. Women and girls were subjected to rape, kidnaping, and forced marriage. Taliban restrictions against women and girls remained widespread, institutionally sanctioned, and systematic throughout most of the year. The Taliban increased enforcement of strict dress codes and maintained the prohibition against women working outside the home except in strictly limited circumstances in the health care field and in some humanitarian assistance projects. The Taliban appeared to reverse a 2-year trend of relaxing enforcement of restrictions on women and girls and increasingly restricted female education and participation in the labor force. Although girls were prohibited formally from attending school, some organizations clandestinely operated elementary schools and home schools with girls in attendance.[4]

As for the penal code, if that is something that interests you, then should find sources that discuss it in relation to the treatment of women. Here is one:[5]. There are others that suggest that "enforcement exceeded their mandate." (Hirschmann 2002) I'm not going to address Sherurcij's behavior here; This is the place for discussing how to improve the article. Viriditas (talk) 21:57, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if the list of restrictions can be attributed directly to RAWA or to journalist Christina Lamb. Lamb reported the list in the book The Sewing Circles of Herat (2004; ISBN 0060505273) and named her source as Mullah Khalil Ahmed Hassani, former member of the Taliban secret police. Viriditas (talk) 00:48, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Was corporal punishment and capital punishment a solely women's issue?[edit]

Was corporal punishment and capital punishment a solely women's issue? I was suggested, above, that since the Taliban flogged and executed men too, this was not solely a women's issue.

If it is not solely a women's issue how much of this article should discuss it?

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 16:48, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the disconnect is here, so perhaps others will step in and address it. Does the article imply or suggest that these things are only women's issues? Viriditas (talk) 21:59, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
The title does actually. If men are treated in the same appalling way, we need to make that clear, otherwise we get bias - as we are implicitly implying that women are particularly singled out for a specific treatment (maybe they are, of course - check the sources). For instance, if I had an article on Jews in the US, where I stated that "in the US, Jews can be executed for several crimes" but failed to mention that the same laws applied equally to non-Jews, that would be biased.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 23:09, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Scott sums it up perfectly in my opinion. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 23:14, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Please provide sources that make those claims. The title implies nothing other than the scope. And, the article does not imply or suggest that executions were only issues related to women. I'm afraid this discussion is not going anywhere unless someone provides sources and shows actual examples of bias from the article. If there is actually bias, then this would be very easy to prove. Viriditas (talk) 23:57, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Are men punished "the same" for the same crimes, or are the criminal sanctions for acts based primarily on the sex of the accused? Are men punished for gaining an education, driving, leaving their faces open, or wearing fingernail polish? Is this not "solely" a female issue? Further, is this article about how the Taliban treated men? Or is about how the Taliban treated women? Yachtsman1 (talk) 00:24, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Problematic lead sentence[edit]

I've been asked to be more specific about aspects of this article that suggest bias. No problem.

The lead sentence currently says:

"While in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban became notorious internationally for their treatment of women."

How would we, in 2008, measure notoriety from 2001? I don't believe this statement is true. So little news escaped Afghanistan that I doubt it would be fair to claim Afghanistan was notorious for anything.

Sure, in 2008 the Taliban is held up as the World's worst example of female repression. If I had been asked to guess, back in 2001, I would have guessed that Saudi Arabia was the most repressive country.

This statement strikes me as an instance of revisionism. Sure, we'd all like now, to think that we were all riled up about the Taliban's abuse back then. But, the truth is practically no one was paying attention -- just as practically no one is paying attention to repression of women in a number of other countries.

And, as I noted above, the policies we identify with the Taliban were first put into place by the regime that preceded them. Further, repression of women hasn't stopped since the Taliban have been kicked out. Doesn't this lead statement imply that the Taliban introduced these policies? Geo Swan (talk) 03:54, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Geo Swan, would you like me to provide you with sources supporting the statement? There's quite a lot. I'm not sure where you are getting the rest of your information. Human rights groups have been reporting about the Taliban's treatment of women since the mid-1990's, and the major media has covered it since that time. Viriditas (talk) 07:14, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
First, let me ask if there is a reason you didn't address my point that the lead incorrectly implies that these policies were introduced by the Taliban?
I don't question that you can find reports from human rights NGOs and periodic articles in progressive newspapers about the issue. I absolutely do question whether anyone could establish that this means the Taliban's treatment of Women was "notorious".
I use google news, and google news alerts, on a regular basis, to monitor the topics I am interested in:
  • There are topics I am interested in that get a new article about them once a year or so. I would not call those topics "notorious". And if I did I would invite ridicule.
  • There are topics I am interested in that get a new article about them once a month, or once a week. I would not call those topics "notorious" either.
  • Then there are topics, which, after some new development, 1,000 or 1,500 newspapers would cover. Should I feel comfortable calling those topics "notorious"?
  • Paris Hilton's activities is a topic which routinely gets the sudden wild bursts of stories in every newspaper. I wouldn't question calling Paris Hilton "notorious". I don't monitor news hits on Paris Hilton. I wouldn't call "notorious" the topics I monitor, that do, occasionally get those bursts of 1,000 news hits, because, even if these bursts meant most of the public had heard of those topics, it absolutely has not meant they knew anything about them.
I have a thought experiment for you. I cited a couple of articles that illustrated post-Taliban instances of the repression of women in Afghanistan. Occasional articles are written on this topic. Do you think that the volume of articles on the current repression of women in Afghanistan would be less than, comparable to, or greater than the volume of articles on the repression of women -- written when the Taliban were still in power? I don't think there is any question that articles written about the repression of women under the Taliban, written post 9-11, dwarfs the coverage written when the Taliban were in power. It would surprise me if the post 9-11 criticism of the Taliban's treatment of women didn't dwarf both the accounts written pre-9-11, and the post 9-11 accounts of post 9-11 repression.
As I wrote above -- the lead sentence seems like historical revisionism.
The word "notorious" should be reserved for people, places and events which are unquestionably notorious.
No matter what personal opinions we have of the Taliban I regard it as a lapse from neutrality to state or imply that they were solely responsible for the repression of women in Afghanistan -- a repression that was traditional, and preceded being encoded in the policies of the regime that preceded the Taliban; a repression that has not been fully discontinued today; and a repression that hard-line elements both within and without the current administration would want fully restored, if International scrutiny and support for women in Afghanistan evaporated.
In theory, we should not use wikipedia articles because we want to influence public policy. In theory, we should not try to use this article to try to lobby for a harder line against the remaining rump of the Taliban, or to lobby for continuing International scrutiny and support for Afghanistan's women and girls. In practice I would be very surprised if a single reader of the English wikipedia were to come forward and seriously state that they personally, favored the kind of traditional repression of women that was policy under the Taliban and the regime that preceded it.
In practice I think that the kind of coverage that is in the best interests of Afghanistan's women and girls happens to be the kind of coverage that strictly complies with the wikipedia's neutrality policy -- coverage that doesn't try to imply that the repression of women was solely a Taliban initiative, and that it disappeared when the Taliban was overthrown.
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 15:22, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
The Taliban did indeed become notorious regarding their treatment of women during the lifetime of the regime, not just after the fact. I find it hard to believe that anyone would argue otherwise given the space that newspapers devoted to the issue. SlimVirgin talk|edits 07:36, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
SlimV and Viriditas are correct. That the Taliban were known for (amongst a handful of other things) their bad treatment of women is factual - and I've no doubt could be extremely well supported by citations if that was deemed necessary. It certainly should feature in the article. I do, however, have objection to it being the lead sentence, because it is ultimately an evaluation (albeit a widely held one - indeed held by most of the world) and an incredibly vague one that thus feels like weasel wording - although it is not. I think the opening should state, in order a) briefly who the Taliban are, and when and where they were/are in power. b)a description of their attitude/actions to women in their own terms. What were they about. b) A brief statement of the international assessment - although here I'd rather say "widely criticised" than notorious and perhaps include a citation from some (broadly neutral) body like the United Nations.
One of the problems with a word like "notorious" is that it says something and nothing. It implies a bad reputation without stating what for. The Taliban are not, in fact, notorious for their "treatment of women" in the abstract, they were notorious for their "dreadful treatment of women" in the concrete. That was the assessment of most of the civilised world. However, I'd rather avoid the word altogether and make a statement that is clearly attributed and clearly targeted. To break Godwin's law for a moment, we would not say "Hitler was notorious for his treatment of Jews".
I also think the article needs a few sentences about "treatment of women in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban" - because we need to inform the reader what difference the Taliban made to women's lives. What changed? Otherwise listing what happened in Afghanistan during their rule risks assuming causation - cum hoc ergo propter hoc.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 09:34, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I've been watching this for a while, and I agree that the first sentence is fine, as far as content. However, it reads like a second sentence. Perhaps one line setting the stage, The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist, predominately Pashtun movement that ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 (I borrowed that from Taliban) would make it read a bit more naturally. In response to Scott, this is not the Taliban article, but the Taliban treatment of women article; this calls for a much more direct opening. Jd2718 (talk) 11:58, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I guess I'm just saying that facts should precede reputation (although I've no problem with verifiable information about their bad reputation also figuring). But we should feature what difference the Taliban made to the lives of women over what the rest of the world thought of it.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 13:02, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Just to support Jd's point — that this article isn't about the Taliban but about their treatment of women, so the first sentence has to reflect that (and not their treatment in Afghanistan before or since). The page is similar to South Africa under apartheid regarding how the pertinent facts should be selected and presented in the lead. SlimVirgin talk|edits 20:59, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
South Africa under apartheid is like the Taliban treatment of women? No offense, but let me suggest a couple of differences:

The apartheid policies were unprecedented in South Africa

The Taliban merely continued policies introduced by a prior regime.


Apartheid is dead. There is no chance the apartheid system could be re-introduced.

While the less intellectually honest element of the Press corps portray the repression of women and girls the repression of women and girls in Afghanistan has not been wiped out. Further hard-line elements, both within and without the current Hamid Karzai administration favor a return to more repression.

So, I suggest we discount your analogy. Geo Swan (talk) 05:50, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

I get the point, but "The apartheid policies were unprecedented in South Africa" isn't quite right either. Racial discrimination in SA pre-dates the Nationalist Party.--Scott MacDonald (talk) 13:54, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Was the Taliban's treatment of women really notorious prior to 9-11?[edit]

I was asked to try to explain the following comment. I wrote:

I have very serious doubts that pointing to pre-9-11 newspaper accounts is a worthwhile metric for justifying calling the treatment "notorious".

As noted above, the article's lead sentence currently says:

"While in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban became notorious internationally for their treatment of women."

What I would suggest is more accurate would be

"Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban's treatment of women -- when they were in power, became the subject of widespread disapprobation."

I asked a few people, for feedback on my comment. And I thought their replies I didn't dispute, I don't think Sherurcij is disputing, I don't think anyone is disputing, that the Taliban is widely disapproved of NOW due to the reports of repressive policies implemented THEN.

That is different than what the lead says. The lead says that the Taliban was notorious during its administration for the repression of women.

I am not disputing, I doubt Sherurcij is disputing, I don't think anyone would dispute that human rights groups tried to draw attention to the plight of Afghan women and girls -- while the Taliban were in power. Similarly, a limited number of contemporary newspaper articles addressed the plight of Afghan women and girls, while the Taliban were in power.

Sadly the reports of international human rights groups are widely ignored. So human rights reports do not justify the characterization "internationally notorious".

Look at the references the article cites. How many of them predate 9-11? I see just a single newspaper report from prior to 9-11. Surely if newspapers were reporting the repression of women widely enough to merit the characterization that it was "internationally notorious" we would be citing more than a single pre-9-11 article? The url of the New York Times article is missing. I have supplied it below:

I hope my questioner finds this explanation clear. The term "notorious" is inappropiate -- cannot be verified.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 05:50, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Please give me an example of how I can verify it for you. Viriditas (talk) 13:16, 31 October 2008 (UTC)


These are from the first 50 of 166 results of a Lexis/Nexis search, all of which predate 9-11:

  • Brown, Janelle. "The Taliban's bravest opponents: women". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  • Macnab, Geoffrey. "Saturday review: Edinburgh: The land without a face: Terrible things go on in Afghanistan - everyone knows it. So why is Mohsen Makhmalbaf one of the few film-makers to tackle the subject? Below, the director talks to Geoffrey Macnab; bottom, an extract from his Afghan memoir". The Guardian (London). 
  • "Men should help Afghan women". Toronto Star. 
  • "Anti-Taliban women take aim". United Press International. 
  • "UN resumes bread distribution". St. John's Telegram (Newfoundland). 
  • "The Public Pulse". Grand Rapid Press (Michigan). 2001-06-15. 
  • Koller, Rabbi I.B. "ESSAYS on faith When religion makes for hell on Earth". Charleston Gazette (West Virginia). 
  • SHAH, AMIR. "Taliban: Women Groups Raise Tensions". Associated Press Online. 
  • SALHANI, By CLAUDE. "Culture Vulture: Afghan's gender apartheid". United Press International. 
  • Odone, Cristina. "Comment: This liberal deception: Prejudice is a dirty word. Unless liberals are talking about Islam". The Observer. 
  • Sally, Armstrong, (2001-05). "Shrouded in secrecy: imagine having to hide yourself from head to toe lest your face corrupt men". Chatelaine.  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  • "U.N. Coordinator Critical of Taliban's Women Policies, XINHUA". Emerging Markets Datafile XINHUA. 

Selected quotes:

  • "Armed men in turbans force a woman from the truck, and make her kneel at the penalty line on the field. Confused and unable to see, the woman tries to look behind just as a rifle is pointed against the back of her head. With no fanfare, she is shot dead."
  • "From now on a yashmak must be a free-flowing loose garment that should on no account show the woman's figure, 'so as not to lead the righteous Muslims into sin'. The Afghan Islamic Press agency reports that special police units observing Islamic morality are to control that the newly-issued instructions are followed."
  • "Dragging the country into worse than medieval status, they have forced women to always be veiled from head to toe whenever they appear in public. They have been banned from holding jobs, except in some public health sectors, such as doctors or nurses. They are barred from voting, and denied education and proper health care."
  • "Bizarre rules were added daily: no television or radio, no music, clapping, singing or dancing, no kite flying, for heaven's sake. Women had to cover the windows of their homes with paint and stay behind purdah walls so no man could see them. If they were caught in the company of a man other than their husband, brother or son, they could be stoned to death. Makeup, nail polish and high-heeled shoes were anathema to the Taliban. Women were even forbidden to wear white socks - the only item of clothing that shows under the burka - because white is the colour of the Taliban flag."
  • "The Taliban rule with ferocious cruelty. They permit no civil rights, no due process, no freedom of thought. Under the Taliban, women are repressed more fearfully than anywhere else on earth - forbidden to go to work or to school, forbidden to laugh out loud, forbidden to appear in public except under escort, and even then only when shrouded from head to toe. Torture is widespread, and the Taliban, who are Sunni Muslims, have massacred minority Shiites by the thousands."

Tom Harrison Talk 11:21, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for finding these, Tom. SlimVirgin talk|edits 18:59, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Objects of universal loathing is more accurate, but we should probably stick with Notorious:

  • "Considering the Taliban's notorious policies on women, education and health care, and their appalling record of repression and vandalism, Elliot's wide-ranging exploration of Afghanistan -- and Afghan history -- could not have appeared at a better time." -- Goodwin, Jason (2001-04-08). "Beyond the Back of Beyond". The New York Times. 
  • "The Taliban are notorious for imposing a puritanical Islam that includes the head-to-toe sheathing of women and justice by amputation." -- Bearak, Barry. "An Afghan mosaic of misery: hunger, war, repression and isolation: Forfeited rights a huge price to pay for shaky peace". Edmonton Journal (Alberta). 
  • "Commaraswamy, who recently spent two weeks in the region, blamed the Taliban's notorious "Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" for perpetuating much of the abuse." -- Macan-Markar, Marwaan. "RIGHTS-AFGHANISTAN: WOMEN STEP UP STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY". IPS-Inter Press Service. 
  • "The Taliban, notorious for its flagrant violations of human rights and its especially brutal repression of women and girls, now controls some 85% of the country. Afghan refugees -- 2.4 million of them, remain the largest refugee population receiving UN assistance. The horrendous injustices being perpetrated against Afghan women and girls, all in the name of Islam, is reminiscent of the Dark Ages." -- "TESTIMONY March 09, 1999 PATRICK LEAHY SENATOR SENATE APPROPRIATIONS FOREIGN OPERATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AGAINST WOMEN IN AFGHENISTAN". Federal Document Clearing House Congressional Testimony. 

Tom Harrison Talk 01:54, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Of course they were, read what AI has to say on the rights of women from 1994 to 2001. I watched the taliban kill women for adultery on the BBC several times before 9/11. (Hypnosadist) 08:00, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Geo heres one of your favourites HRW from 1999 (Hypnosadist) 08:07, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
AND (Hypnosadist) 08:10, 4 November 2008 (UTC)


Hold on -- this lexis-nexis thing is a fee bases service that let you call up a greater number of news stories than we could get through google news? And, for the seven years of Taliban regime Lexis-Nexis found 155 articles? That is, just over one article per month, published somewhere in the anglosphere. Some of these are from very small circulation papers. Any random person relying solely on chance to come across them, will at most have come across an opportunity to read a much more limited number of articles over that seven years. Not everyone reads a daily newspaper. And very few who do read it from cover to cover.
The old aphorism says: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him think." The average newspaper reader, who reads their newspaper every day, may have been exposed to an article that mentioned the Taliban's treatment of women. But we shouldn't assume they read it. And we shouldn't assume they remembered it.
This falls a couple of orders short of establishing notoriety for any intellectually meaningful definition of "notorious". Geo Swan (talk) 00:59, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
GS, I don't know how old you are, but most adults who were around during that period would have known about it. It was indeed the only thing most people knew about the Taliban or even Afghanistan. SlimVirgin talk|edits 01:21, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
You state this as a fact, but how do you know this? Did you do a survey of what your friends and acquaintances think they remember about what they knew of the Taliban, prior to 9-11?
The Taliban is infamous now, as human rights abusers. The Taliban is hated -- and demonized. This demonization is unencyclopedic, and a violation of the policy of neutrality, and we should not allow it to seep into our articles, particularly not into the lead sentences.
Human memory is very unreliable. Feelings against the Taliban are so strong that people want to think they were well aware of its policies, at the time. There are human rights concerns which do get enough coverage that they enter the general public consciousness. Darfur in the Sudan would be a good example. And there are places where various serious situations go ignored. Portugal decided to get out of the being a colonial power business in 1974, and allowed Angola, Mozambique and East Timor to set up independent governments. Indonesia annexed East Timor, and treated the East Timor people very poorly -- for twenty-five years. Practically no one paid attention. The situations that penetrate public consciousness are the tip of the human rights concern iceberg. For me to agree with the lead sentence the conditions of women in the Taliban's Afghanistan would have to had penetration into the public consciousness comparable to that of Darfur in Sudan.
Conditions for Afghan girls and women remain very bad. And there are reports from human rights groups and occasional newspaper articles such that anyone who took the step of seeking this information out would be aware of it. But, I suggest, those reports have been drowned out for almost everyone else, by the reports that the Taliban repressed women, and now that they had been overthrown the rights of women and girls has made steady progress ever since. I suggest that a nexus-lexus search for stories the lack of progress, and the reverse of progress in girls and womens being free of fear and repression would get considerably more hits than the 155 Tom harrison reported pre-911. If the reports that girls and women in Afghanistan still have very real justification to fear repression hasn't gotten through then how could the 155 newspaper articles, scattered across the world, over seven years, pre-911, establish that the Taliban was notorious for its repression of women? Geo Swan (talk) 17:08, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm still not following you. What counterarguments will you consider? Please be specific to avoid the appearance of moving the goalposts. Viriditas (talk) 22:13, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
"There are human rights concerns which do get enough coverage that they enter the general public consciousness. Darfur in the Sudan would be a good example. And there are places where various serious situations go ignored." If geo you mean that the human rights groups do not spend as much time criticising some serious human rights violators as they do in thier racist targeting of Isreal, then thats just the truth but i can't believe you are admitting that fact. (Hypnosadist) 09:11, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually I don't blame the human rights groups, who I see as having very little influence. And I have no opinion about their coverage of Israel. Geo Swan (talk) 18:28, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Moving the goal posts? I think the onus is on those who assert the Taliban was notorious -- prior to 9-11 to verify that it really was notorious. If you can find a couple of scientifically conducted polls, where researchers asked randomly selected members of the public questions that would demonstrate familiarity with both the Taliban, and its treatment of women, if those polls were conducted prior to 9-11, and if respondents hadn't answered, "who in the name of heck are the Taliban", I would accept calling the treatment "widely known". If the answers really suggested the respondents didn't have to think about their answers I would accept "notorious".
I think, when considering the 155 lexus-nexus links Tom harrison reports he found, some large publications, like the New York Times, own, or are affiliated with other newspapers. Lots of New York Times articles are republished in the International Herald Tribune, and the Taipei Times. The Associated Press has some fine reporters, who report on wider issues. It was Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Associated Press that triggered Jed Rakoff's court order forcing the Department of Defense to release the identities, and transcripts, of the Guantanamo captives. Smaller newspapers pick and choose among the AP's stories. How many of those 155 newspaper stories Tom harrison reports are duplicates? We shouldn't count duplicates because casual readers of the paper copies are very unlikely to come across the same article in two different papers from two different regions. Geo Swan (talk) 18:28, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
There is raising the bar, but what you have done is remove the bar altogether. Congratulations, I've never seen anyone do that. The 155 links Mr. Harrison found is a very small sample size-there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands more. Your argument is so ridiculous it simply doesn't deserve a rational response. Viriditas (talk) 07:56, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
"The old aphorism says: 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him think.'" Indeed. Tom Harrison Talk 01:33, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Replacement lead?[edit]

The lead sentence currently says:

"While in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban became notorious internationally for their treatment of women."

I suggest the following lead sentence does not represent the same kind of bias and revisionism as the current sentence.

"After their ouster from power in Afghanistan the Taliban became internationally notorious for the repressive nature of the Taliban treatment of women."

It also has the advantage that it complies with the convention that the name of the article should be repeated, verbatim, in the lead. Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 18:39, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Geo Swan, would your lead require "a couple of scientifically conducted polls, where researchers asked randomly selected members of the public questions that would demonstrate familiarity with both the Taliban, and its treatment of women," but conducted after 9-11? Tom Harrison Talk 19:16, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Geo Swan's recommended lead is also completely inaccurate. The Taliban became notorious for their treatment of women after 1994. Is there something difficult about this fact that Geo Swan cannot wrap his mind around? Again, I've asked Geo Swan exactly what evidence he will accept, and in response he has invented a survey that does not exist on planet Earth. I'm getting the distinct impression that Geo Swan is more interested in playing games than working on improving articles. So again, I ask Geo Swan, what evidence will you accept? And since he didn't get it the first time, "evidence" refers to sources that exist, not to things you invent in your head. I just spent some time reading through Geo Swan's comments again, and I think this whole discussion hinges on his misunderstanding of the word "notorious". For some reason that I cannot figure out, Geo Swan seems to think that the word "notrious" is linked to public knowledge, such that we must be able to show that the average, disinterested observer is aware of the Taliban's mistreatment of women. I'm not sure where Geo Swan got this idea, but that's not how the word is used in this context. If Geo Swan insists on maintaining this strange argument, all he would have to do is provide one reliable source that claims policymakers weren't aware of the Taliban's treatment of women prior to 9/11. Of course, they were, because there are hundreds of articles on the subject extending back to 1994. I think it's time for Geo Swan to concede this point and to move on. Viriditas (talk) 09:31, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I believe I have been completely civil to you, Tom.harrison, and everyone else here. I would ask you to show me the same courtesy.
Viriditas, you say you are mystified that I think notoriety is tied to widespread public knowledge? Well, I checked a couple of dictionaries.
  1. widely and unfavorably known: a notorious gambler.
  2. publicly or generally known, as for a particular trait: a newspaper that is notorious for its sensationalism.
  1. well-known; publicly discussed
  2. widely but unfavorably known or talked about
Notoriety is not based on what professional policy wonks know. It is based on what the public knows. I never suggested that professional policy wonks doubted that the Taliban mistreated women and girls.
Your comment that you think I am playing games, am uninterested in improving articles is a lapse from the wikipedia's civility policies. This article does not comply with the neutrality policy. Go look at the policy again. We should not be demonizing the subject's of articles. We don't say "Hitler was evil". Stating or implying that the Taliban was widely known for mistreating women, back at a time when most people had never heard of them, is inaccurate, biased, and a serious disservice to our readers. I regard arguing for bringing the article into closer compliance with the neutrality policy as work on improving the article and the project.
User:Tom harrison, if you don't like my lead, why don't you draft an alternate one? I am not tied to the use of the word "notorious". I have no problem substituting "widely reported". Widely reported would apply to the coverage post-911. I did the arithmetic, and pointed out to you that the 150 pre-911 lexus-nexus hits you found would average about one per month -- if each link was to an unique article. I suggested that a detailed examination of those hits would find that many were duplicates -- published in different regional markets, so the average reader would be lucky to find one.
I won't try to guess why you haven't offered responses to these points. Geo Swan (talk) 19:35, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
In fact, while in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban became notorious internationally for their treatment of women. That's accurate and well supported, and I see no persuasive argument for changing it. Tom Harrison Talk 19:51, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

The lead sentence is fine, as-is, since the Taliban were notorious for their treatment of women prior to 9/11. The issue of the Taliban and their treatment of the Afghan people, particularly women, got especially a lot of attention in late August 2001 when Australia refused to accept a boat load of ~400 refugees, mostly from Afghanistan. I do remember numerous news stories in newspapers and on television about this, and talking about this among friends at the time. The news coverage may have been more extensive coverage outside of the U.S. (in Canada, Europe, Asia, and of course Australia), though it was also covered by the U.S. media.

These news stories are just a small sample. --Aude (talk) 20:52, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

The Taliban treatment of women aimed to provide "secure environments where the chasteness and dignity of women may once again be sacrosanct", based on Pashtunwali beliefs about living in purdah.[4] [5] However, their measures attracted condemnation from many fronts, including the United Nations and Amnesty International.[6][7]

Women were required to wear the burqa when in public since it was believed the sight of a woman's flesh served as a forbidden temptation to men, and was thus a corruption.[8] They were allowed to work only in limited fields, and were not allowed educational opportunities afforded to their male counterparts. In addition, women were required to be accompanied by a mahram relative during most public activities, resulting in a decreased sense of mobility and independence.[9][10]

This seems to be a much better lead intro to the subject, avoiding weasel words, still making it clear that their treatment of women was widely condemned, without being a blatant POV subjective Western view. It's likely not perfect, but what should be improved? Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 23:30, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

I support the above intro. (Hypnosadist) 23:43, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Updated. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 17:37, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

The same old problem users[edit]

The same old users have stubbornly hijacked this article, removing any photographs that show women in Afghanistan in "normal" circumstances, instead allowing only photos of them being beaten or as the victims of capital punishment. In addition, in contravention to Wikipedia:External links, we keep pushing readers to go visit the RAWA website - this entire article basically is one large advertisement for RAWA - and makes absolutely no attempt to be neutral. It says that women were prohibited from becoming doctors, but any attempt to point out that the Taliban overturned that rule within a year is removed from the article, to make it sound (falsely) like there was a decade without medical care for women in Afghanistan. Then we have my favourite statement of all, "They faced execution for violations of the Taliban's law"'re kidding, right? Shall we mention that in the Women in Japan article as well, that women can be punished for breaking the law? Similarly, even though "required to wear the burqa" is true, the editors insist it say "forced to wear the burqa" - even though we wouldn't likely talk about how Americans are forced to wear shoes any time they enter a shopping mall. Rules require us to do things, they do not force us to do them. The Taliban was the government, and made the rules, thus they required certain things from certain people -- but let's not stoop to playing wordgames - It's dishonest and it's propaganda - and it's a stain on the project. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 23:40, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Are you actually arguing that the Taliban's treatment of women (which this article is actually about) has some similarity with a law that requires people to wear shoes in a mall? Is there some difference between males and females wearing shoes into a mall in the West? Are the laws enforced with brutality in case a female does not wear shoes? Are you actually arguing that a law that coerces a female to wear a burqa on pain of death has some similiarity to a law requiring a person to wear shoes in a mall? That this is some sort of fashion statement by the Taliban? I'm sorry, but I find your argument and attempt to tie one of set of laws in the West with laws forcing females to wear burqas in Afghanistan under the Taliban to be extremely weak. I also find your own POV to be showing at this point. Yachtsman1 (talk) 00:25, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
Is there some difference between males and females wearing shoes into a mall in the West? -- is there some difference between males and females being executed for breaking the law? Because the article doesn't imply that, it just says that women were subject to capital punishment - as though that's somehow notable. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 03:18, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
So, executing people for breaking the law is not notable? Thanks for confirming that position, but I find that somewhat notable. The difference: In the West, men and women are held to the same standard for not wearing shoes in the mall, their crimes being the same underlying offense regardless of sex. Under the Taliban, the males would be admonished, while the female executed for showing flesh while not wearing shoes. Therein lies the difference with how the Taliban treated males as opposed to females. The law was applied in differing degrees to females, inequally, for the same offense. Add that in with other strictures that targeted females solely, and the law was utilized to oppress females as a class under the Taliban. Propaganda? I think not. The logical underpinnings of this argument is undeniable.Yachtsman1 (talk) 04:35, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
"Under the Taliban, the males would be admonished, while the female executed for showing flesh while not wearing shoes."[citation needed] Have any evidence to suggest women were executed for not wearing shoes, or is this just more of your dreamworld trying to make it the most insane government in history? Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 13:20, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
Please note that my response will not copy your uncivil attitude towards anyone who disagrees with your positions. The burqa you mentioned earlier covers females from head to toe, and they were subject to being publically whipped for having uncovered ankles.[11] However, they could also, technically, be stoned to death for adultery. As for your other comments, yes, it was, in many ways, the most insane "government" in history. That's who no self respecting country on Earth recognized them as a legitimate government.Yachtsman1 (talk) 22:37, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Broaden the scope of this article[edit]

I'm not sure how to formally propose this, but it makes much more sense to me that there be a single page for the "Role of Women in Afghan society" or "Women's Rights in Afghanistan", with historical discussion of the subject. Otherwise, it appears as if the Taliban's restrictions are arising out of the blue in a country that was previously like Sweden or something.Msalt (talk) 23:32, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Elimnate the clip[edit]

I do not think their should be a link to someone's execution. It does belong a encylopedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

This is an article describing subjects, including execution... (talk) 09:43, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Remove "Joke Line":[edit]

"In September 2010, a female caught swimming in a pool received a harsh punishment of fifty lashes with a foam swim noodle and given a wedgie for holding her nose while she swam." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:26, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Long time later but may be worth checking[edit]

Long time later but if anyone has time may be worth checking [6]. The edit doesn't seem to be vandalism but at least one of the changes was bizzare (insertion of mention of Osama bin Laden when the source said nothing about that and it didn't seem relevant to the comment) Nil Einne (talk) 11:35, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Beating of woman by Taliban[edit]

Taliban in Afganistan are beating women to prevent them from being committing sin's.They forbid them from being involved in illegal sex relationships which is common almost in all NATO countries. Can Wiki tell me that in which country the first case of AIDS were found? Why the world countries are facing the challenge of AIDS "the disaster"? Now,the talibans have made several causualties since 2001 in Afganistan.Can Wiki tell me that who started this game first? Who dropped the two Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima & Nagasaki? Who killed the millions of people in 1st & 2nd world war? Who made the nuclear weapons first? If the powerful countries like U.S.A. Russia ,Germany,France want to maintain the peace in this world, then why they were in need of weapons that they created first? Every powerful country held summit's over "Equality".What is the meaning of "Equality" to these countries? I will tell u! They say that every under-developing /developin country should always remain inferior to us.If they created nuclear weapons,what is wrong with developing nations? Now,the meaning of "Equality"in Islam,! In Islam "Equality" means that no one is superior or inferior infront of Allah.If u have something of your own,distribute it to your neighbours in equal.If u have any kind of knowledge ,transfer it to others equally as u posses... Can America say that we are the criminals of peoples killed in Atomic Bombs and the world wars fought? In Islam,it is mentioned that "if u want to maintain peace in the world ,then u start firstly from your soul and home! This is for Mr.Obama, a peacekeeper. This content is based upon truth only,does'nt contain any kind voilation

    THANKS....  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 5 August 2012 (UTC) 

Islamic point of view[edit]

After reading this I have been shocked.I assure the reader that each and every law the Taliban have made is invariance with Islamic law.Any person who studies early Islamic history will realize that women have had a huge role in Islamic society. for example,Islam has allowed women to earn money if they have no provider.Also,preventing women from getting educated is forbidden in Islam. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:26, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

The link from the first illustration is dead. (talk) 06:19, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ A woman being flogged in public.
  2. ^ ""The Taliban's War on Women"" (PDF).  (857 KiB), Physicians for Human Rights, August 1998.
  3. ^ "100 Girls' Schools in Afghan Capital Are Ordered Shut", The New York Times, June 17, 1998.
  4. ^ Nancy Hatch Dupree. 'Afghan Women under the Taliban' in William Maley (2001) ISBN-10: 0786410906. Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban. London: Hurst and Company, ISBN-10: 0814755860 pp145-166.
  5. ^ Marsden, Peter. (1998). The Taliban: War, religion and the new order in Afghanistan. London: Zed Books Ltd, ISBN-10: 1856495221 pp88-101.
  6. ^ AFP, "UN lashes out at Taliban for Violence against Women", September 13, 1999
  7. ^ Amnesty International, Women in Afghanistan - A human rights catastrophe, 1996
  8. ^ M. J. Gohari (2000). The Taliban: Ascent to Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0195795601 pp. 108-110.
  9. ^ Government of Afghanistan, Mahram Decree, July 16 1997
  10. ^ Lindholt, Lone. "Human Rights in Development Yearbook", 2003. p. 357
  11. ^