The close to $700 billion appropriated in the PACT ACT for the next ten years will help alleviate some suffering caused by Halliburton’s war profiteering, but only for U.S. victims. It won’t do a thing for the people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In one of their harshest moves since a purportedly more humane Taliban returned to power, a new edict mandates all Afghan women cover their faces with a full burqa if they dare to leave their now-prison-like homes; it also deputizes men in their lives to enforce the despotic rule. The head-to-toe sheathing is one of many new strictures – female TV journalists in masks, curbs on school, work, travel – by a hardline cabal in charge of “virtue” and “vice,” once the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The goal, besieged women say, is to “erase a whole gender and generation…to make women disappear.”
“They want to take away the air we breathe, too.” Mahbouba Seraj welcomes us to her office in Kabul’s Parwan-Seh neighborhood. On the small hill behind the building, a child is sifting through the garbage looking for plastic. He has a large black bag on his bicycle, already half full.
The Taliban has announced a ban on opium production, but since coming into power in August last year they have turned a blind eye to the trade.