It's still taboo in America to speak the truth about how the current disaster for women in Afghanistan began; but it was the fruit of the CIA-organized, funded and equipped war against the Afghan revolution and then against the Soviet troops who came into Afghanistan to defend it.
But I remember the accounts every week of US-supported "Mujahadeen" entering towns, burning the school and the health center, killing the doctors and the teachers, and fleeing into the mountains.
And I remember a letter from an AFSC volunteer in an Afghan village who was present when the civil war began in '78, before the Soviet intervention. The revolutionary government in Kabul issued a series of decrees, taken up by the town's revolutionary committee. These were, in order (if I remember it right): a decree that women could appear in public without a veil; a decree that women must be allowed to speak at public meetings; a land reform, redistributing the holdings of the feudal landlords to the peasants; a decree that all girls had to receive a 4th grade education just like the boys; a decree granting women equal rights with men to a divorce; a decree granting women the right to attend college;
and finally a decree abolishing the right of husbands to kill their wives.
It was on the Friday after the last of these decrees that the Mullahs led the outraged faithful (men) out of the Mosques and on a rampage, hanging any communists, supporters of the government or unescorted women they could lay their hands on. Thus began the civil war, with the US supporting one side (with arms so advanced that even its NATO allies weren't allowed to have them) and the Soviet Union supporting the other.
Many young people I've told this story to are unable to guess which side the US was on; but of course it was on the side of the wife-killers. And it was in protest of the Soviet intervention - and in support of the wife-killers - that Jimmy Carter (Lord bless him) withdrew the US athletes from the Moscow Olympics and initiated the rapid arms buildup that marked the beginning of Cold War II - which did not end in the obliteration of our civilization, but could have.
Virtually no one spoke against this madness, because our terror of being accused of being soft on communism was still so great. Even most of the US anti-imperialist movement shied away. The Soviet move seemed outrageous because they no sooner had entered Afghanistan then they presided over the arrest and execution of the Afghan President Amin, who had begged and pushed them to send troops.
They claimed to have proof that he was a CIA agent, who had deliberately sabotaged the revolution by leading a campaign of wanton killing of enemies. This seemed like quite a whopper at the time; but now, in hindsight, I'm not so sure.