Leading article: The murderous fruits of neglect

Share

Safia Amajan was attempting to build a new, civilised Afghanistan. As the director of the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kandahar she had opened numerous female schools and provided hundreds of women and girls with an education that, only five years ago, was denied them by the obscurantist Taliban. But it was this role in lifting the veil of ignorance and poverty from the Afghan people that also seems to have resulted in her death.

Ms Amajan was murdered yesterday by two gunmen as she left her home in Kandahar. It seems almost certain that the Taliban was responsible. Its commanders have threatened to kill anyone working for the government. And as a vocal critic of the former regime, Ms Amajan would have been a prime target.

This barbaric killing emphasises, once again, the despicable ideology of the Taliban. But it also underlines how shamefully Afghanistan has been let down by the rest of the world since the 2001 intervention to stop the country being a base for international terrorists. The Bush administration hails Afghanistan as a success story for its "war on terror". But across Afghanistan, violence against women is increasing. In the southern province of Helmand, where British troops are based, there are daily attacks on schools by the Taliban. Afghanistan has become, once again, the world's biggest exporter of heroin. The country is degenerating into violent anarchy.

The reason is neglect. President Hamid Karzai's desperate warnings about the deteriorating security situation in his country were ignored by a world preoccupied by Iraq. In 2001 the developed countries of the globe, led by the US, promised to provide President Karzai with the wherewithal to establish security. This was never delivered. It is unsurprising to learn that Ms Amajan's requests for a personal bodyguard were not granted, given that the Afghan police are so poorly equipped and undermanned. That does not make it any less scandalous.

The ordinary people of Afghanistan have been neglected too. They were promised new roads and irrigation canals after the departure of the Taliban. They were offered compensation for their ploughed-up poppy fields. Very little of this has materialised. As the Senlis Council think-tank pointed out this month, the battle to win the trust and support of ordinary Afghans has been lost. And now the Taliban are capitalising on this disillusionment and pushing back into old territories.

It is now apparent that the battle for Afghanistan did not end in 2001. The fall of Kabul was merely the beginning of that struggle. And, as this latest murder shows, the terrible truth is that the forces of enlightenment and democracy are in retreat.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
George Osborne appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, 5 July 2015  

George Osborne says benefits should be capped at £20,000 to meet average earnings – but working families take home £31,500

Ellie Mae O'Hagan
The BBC has agreed to fund the £650m annual cost of providing free television licences for the over-75s  

Osborne’s assault on the BBC is doing Murdoch’s dirty work

James Cusick James Cusick
Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high