I am a lecturer at a Teacher Training College where I work is in a remote area so I travel by taxi car, there was a poor elderly lady who also wanted to ride in the car, she said she could only to pay 70 Afghani fare, instead of 100. Many drivers had refused her because in Afghanistan seats in cars can be shared. But it is not acceptable for a woman to sit intimately next to a man. If the driver offered her a place he would not make enough money that day.
Finally she approached our car, she asked the driver and said I have 70. He was a kind man and said no problem, even if you do not pay even one Afghani.
He asked a 14-year-old boy to ‘please sit with her’, she is like your mother and you are like her son. They sat together in the front seat although the seat was only for one. But Afghan drivers often have two persons, so in Afghan culture that means a lone woman has to pay double for the seat to sit alone in a taxi, this is big problem for women financially.
We travelled far from Jalalabad city to Kama district. When we reached Di ghazi village, the lady asked please bring fetch me a piece of bread from the shop because I am too hungry. A generous rider who was a young who brought bread for her and paid with her money.
The old lady then prayed so much, and after praying she said, last night I stayed in my son in law’s home. My daughter got married some months ago and now my daughter is beaten by him and treats her very badly. She said because of her daughter, she argued with her son in law last night, that why he is not treating her daughter likes a woman. She said, his stupid words made her more angry, so she did not have dinner because of too much unhappiness. When she woke up early in morning, she left her son in law’s home, that is why she was hungry.
She had neither dinner nor morning lunch.
For two consecutive days, her words were in my mind that made me mentally very upset.
One night I was at home and turned on the radio, and heard a person talking badly against western people, he said that western people do not let their parents at their home because they will become an obstacle for their future promotions. Listening to him I became even angrier. And asked why is our media not focusing on problems of Afghan women. Instead they always criticize western life style.
It is so surprising that Afghans are always talking against western culture and their life style.
It is obvious that they are not Muslims or infidels. Whatever they are, they have a different way and they are proud to have the freedom such life style gives them. So why should Afghan media always criticize them, it is a waste of time. Instead media should be focusing on talking about how to better the lives of Afghan people. Especially Afghan women and the life they endure.
Afghan women are sold like animals and market goods, Parents take more than thousand Afghani to marry their 13 or 14 year daughters to 60 and 70 year olds and disabled, handicapped men. Girls and women are used like toys, they can’t get married on their choice and they can’t defend themselves or ask for their rights. They are not allowed to study and have an education.
Farhad Zaheer is a college lecturer and social activist in Nangarhar. He can be reached at
THE PASHTUN TIMES