Should the Taliban express a passion for preventing COVID-19?

From the BBC:

They closed the schools, the world remained silent, they closed our universities, silence, now they’ve come for our courses. What are we supposed to do? Kill ourselves?” Devastated Afghan girls mourn the loss of their education after the Taliban’s ban

The same thing happened in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and New York from Spring 2020 through Fall 2021. The same media outlets that decry the Taliban’s action today lauded these closures in 2020 and 2021. Could the Taliban rehabilitate their image with Western progressives by saying that they’re doing a partial lockdown in order to flatten the curve? How can they justify a partial lockdown rather than a full Chinese-style lockdown? Easy! The New York Times and BBC never questioned the Science behind a “lockdown” in which schools were closed while marijuana stores, Tinder, bars, restaurants, and liquor stores remained open.

6 thoughts on “Should the Taliban express a passion for preventing COVID-19?

  1. The Taliban’s policy hurts women and not men. The COVID policies hurt women and men in the same way.

    In the mind of the New York Times:
    * A policy that hurts both sexes is not important or interesting. It will be mentioned only in passing.
    * A policy that hurts men but not women is equity, and should be celebrated.
    * A policy that hurts women but not men is evil, and should be condemned.

    Philip noted an interesting consequence of these rules: If the Taliban had closed the university to both sexes, it would not elicit any anger, and not be worth writing about. But a policy that does exactly the same harm to women (close only to women) is an outrage, because it fails to harm men.

    • I don’t know, I hate to stick up for the NYT but a lot of the issue has to do with longevity – we all knew that the school closures here in the US were temporary while in Afghanistan the school closures for women are probably permanent so long as the Taliban remain in power. Presumably if the Taliban permanently closed all schools to everyone, male and female, that, the newspaper of record, would have noted.

    • Ricky: What makes you think that the school closures in Afghanistan will last longer than the 18 months that they lasted in the American cities that Followed the Science? In fact, the Taliban have explicitly said that they’re going to reopen the schools to/for women once they’ve redesigned some aspects. The range of permissible expression should be larger than what prevailed on pre-Elon Twitter.

    • > Presumably if the Taliban permanently closed all schools to everyone, male and female, that, the newspaper of record, would have noted.

      If the schools were closed to woman and men, I agree that it would (as you said) be noted. “Noted” is slightly stronger than my words (“mentioned only in passing”), but in the same ballpark.

      This blog post quotes a woman saying the following: “What are we supposed to do? Kill ourselves?”

      My sense (admittedly not tested in this case, as only one of the two scenarios actually happened) is that if the Taliban closed all schools, it would be noted as fact in some story. That story would have a neutral emotional tone. There would be no quotes from women talking about how they presume that people in power are hurting them in a way that makes it appropriate for them to consider suicide. That seems like a significant difference.

  2. US “stole” $7B from Afghanistan’s central bank after the fall of Kabul (according to WaPo). That and cratering of the previous Western-funded war/NGO economy has doubled the unemployment to 25% in 2022. Taliban might be responding to the reality of a lesser need for college grads for the time being, while staying in line with their Islamic principles.

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