In 1997, Sally Armstrong, then editor-in-chief of Homemaker’s magazine, wrote an article about the women of Afghanistan and their lives under the misogynist Taliban regime. More than 9000 letters poured in from readers demanding that something be done to get these women out of bondage. Recently named as UNICEF’s special representative to Afghanistan, Armstrong has an insider’s view of the terror, abuse and misogyny the women and girls of Afghanistan have faced for more than two decades of civil war and, in particular, when the Taliban took over.
Veiled Threat begins on September 27, 1996, the day the Taliban seized power and put women under house arrest. Armstrong introduces us to several women—among them the commissioner of human rights for Afghanistan, Dr. Sima Samar—who describe their rapid-fire descent into the waking nightmare of life under the Taliban.
Armstrong then steps back to describe the centuries-old history of misogyny and the way customs such as honour killing found their way to Afghanistan. She also highlights the extraordinary work women around the world were doing to rescue their sisters in Afghanistan while venerable bodies such as the United Nations were virtually silent.
Leading us through the fractured history of Afghanistan, Armstrong examines what Islam actually says about women. She assesses the monumental impact of September 11 and ends with intriguing conclusions drawn by Afghan women.
Based on first-hand experience that includes Armstrong's own unexpected stay with the Taliban and years of passionate involvement in the struggle for women’s rights in Afghanistan, Veiled Threat brings a humane and informed view to the lives of women in this tragic and awesome land.