We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Special Communication |

Women's Health and Human Rights in Afghanistan

Zohra Rasekh, MPH; Heidi M. Bauer, MD, MPH, MS; M. Michele Manos, PhD, MPH; Vincent Iacopino, MD, PhD
JAMA. 1998;280(5):449-455. doi:10.1001/jama.280.5.449.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Context.— During the past 20 years, social and political upheavals have disrupted the way of life in Afghanistan. The Taliban regime, a radical Islamic movement that took control of Kabul in September 1996, has had extraordinary health consequences for Afghan women.

Objective.— To assess the health and human rights concerns and conditions of women living in Kabul under the Taliban regime.

Setting.— Residences in Kabul; refugee camps and residences in Pakistan.

Design.— A cross-sectional survey of women who lived in Kabul, prior to September 1996, when the Taliban took control.

Participants.— A total of 160 women participated, including 80 women currently living in Kabul and 80 Afghan women who had recently migrated to Pakistan.

Main Outcome Measures.— Self-reported changes in physical and mental health, access to health care, war-related trauma, human rights abuses, and attitudes toward women's human rights.

Results.— The median age of respondents was 32 years (range, 17-70 years); median formal education was 12 years, and 136 (85%) of respondents had lived in Kabul for at least 19 years. Sixty-two percent (99/180) reported that they were employed before the Taliban takeover; only 32 (20%) were employed during their last year in Kabul. The majority of all women reported a decline in physical and mental health status (71% [113/160] and 81% [129/160], respectively) and reported a decline in access to health care (62% [99/160]) during the last 2 years living in Kabul. Many of the women reported symptoms that met diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (42% [67/160]), demonstrated evidence of major depression (97% [155/160]), and had significant anxiety symptoms (86% [137/160]). Eighty-four percent (134/160) of women reported 1 family member or more killed in war. Sixty-nine percent (111/160) reported that they or a family member had been detained and abused by Taliban militia, and 68% (108/160) reported extremely restricted social activities. Almost all (96%) expressed support for women's human rights.

Conclusions.— The current health and human rights status of women described in this report suggests that the combined effects of war-related trauma and human rights abuses by Taliban officials have had a profound effect on Afghan women's health. Moreover, support for women's human rights by Afghan women suggests that Taliban policies regarding women are incommensurate with the interests, needs, and health of Afghan women.

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

44 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
PubMed Articles