TWO WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN
By Alan Caruba
Safia Ama Jan was the Provincial Director for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs when she was murdered in late September, 2006, by the Taliban outside of her home in Kandahar. She was a woman of immense courage. Her killers, two men on a motorbike who gunned her down and then sped away, were the kind of scum we are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Associated Press reported that, “Ama Jan was known as an active proponent of women’s rights in the former Taliban stronghold.” The attack on her was one of “increasingly brazen attacks by militants on government officials and schools in Afghanistan.” I do wish the AP would more accurately use the word “terrorists.” Killing a woman in her 60s, wearing a full burqa, is the work of murderers intent on spreading terror.
Even during the years the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, Ama Jan secretly conducted classes for young girls. She did so every day at the risk of death. She had been a teacher for thirty years when they killed her. When the United States rid Afghanistan of these murderous thugs, we laid the groundwork for a modern nation.
Last year, the Taliban, who see themselves as the exemplars of Islam, burned or attacked 146 schools, and they have picked up the pace, attacking 158 schools so far this year, according to an advisor to Afghanistan’s Education Minister. Perhaps, this is due to the fact that these schools teach girls, or, perhaps, there simply is no room for competition with the madrassas that limit “education” to the Koran and teach only boys.
The enemies of knowledge know how dangerous knowledge can be to a socalled religion that believes it encompasses the only knowledge a Muslim need know or, for that matter, everyone else in the world need know. The enemies of knowledge are, by definition, the enemies of freedom in Afghanistan and everywhere else.
The other woman was U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Merideth Howard of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
On September 8, 2006, she was killed by a car bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was 52 years old. That’s right, age 52, on active duty in a war zone with her Army Reserve unit.
So far, sixty-six women in our military have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of these sixty-six women, fifty-one were 30 years old or younger. Four of the women were aged 41 to 44.
Where does America find such remarkable, courageous women? The answer is everywhere.
Merideth was 5-foot-4, but family and friends tell of the way she made up for her size with determination. This was noticed when she became the first woman member of the Bryan, Texas, Fire Department back in 1978. She served three years with the department. When the suicide bomber killed her, she was just two years shy of the twenty-year mark in the Army Reserves.
Something tells me that Merideth Howard, like Ama Jan, knew how high the stakes were, especially for a new generation of women in Afghanistan. Warriors like these two can never be defeated, unless the appeasers and cowards convince Americans and their allies to run away from murderers on motorbikes and in bomb-laden cars.
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Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center, which is located at www.anxietycenter.com.
Caruba’s new book, Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy, has been published by Merril Press.
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