Afghanistan’s culture is far removed from what we are accustomed to in western civilization. There is no freedom of religion in the country as Islam is the dominant way of thinking and has been for hundreds of years. Afghanistan is currently synonymous with war because of the division between the people within the country. Another cultural aspect we struggle to grapple with is the treatment of women in the country—the kind of treatment we condemn as a western society.

Islamic religion

The dominant religion practiced in Afghanistan is Islam. Historically, the region that is now Afghanistan used to be predominantly Buddhist, but during the 7th century, Muslim influence spread far and wide. Since that time, despite many invasions from other countries and their pervading religious motives, the region has remained the centre of Islamic influence. Today, although the country is divided, all groups within the country follow some or other version of the Islamic belief system. Any other religions are condemned and many people are killed for choosing any other religion besides Islam.

Devastated by conflict

The conflict in Afghanistan seems to be rooted in disagreement as to how the country should be governed. Taliban rebels resent the current government and are continuously engaged in trying to overthrow it. This may be because of the corruption in government as well as the country’s relations with the US. Because of all this conflict, there have been many aide groups dispatched to assist with poverty, orphans, and abused women. However, there has not been much change as a result.

Treatment of women

Women in Afghanistan are treated as property. Their sole purpose is to give men children and tend to household needs. Women are often abused if they cannot produce a son for their husbands and divorce is not uncommon in such situations. As a result, many mothers are left stranded without any money or means to work—and are left caring for their daughters because they have little to no rights as women.

We can only speculate whether or not Afghanistan’s cultural system has a lot to do with their current state as a nation. Nobody can deny that the country is broken and in deep need of real help. However, this help must come in the form of a changed way of thinking if they are to pull themselves out of the wretched state they are currently in.