From Rod Nordland at the New York Times, an article about how women’s rights in Afghanistan — a fragile accomplishment, in any case — will be stripped away if the Taliban and the Afghan government take full control of the country when the U.S. leaves:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Advocates say that women’s rights and security in Afghanistan are under mounting assault from all sides — the Taliban insurgency and the government alike — putting at risk 12 years of hard-won gains for women here.
The country’s Parliament is about to approve legislation that would strip away crucial legal protections. The insurgents have mounted a string of violent attacks on female officials. And advocates for women are deeply worried by the news that President Hamid Karzai has been negotiating secretly with the Taliban, who enforced hard-line, fundamentalist restrictions on women during their years in power.
And the advocates see two potential disasters looming for Afghan women this year. One would be the failure to complete a long-term security agreement with the United States, which could lead to the departure of American and other international forces and aid agencies, by far the strongest proponents for women here.
The other is the election in April to choose Mr. Karzai’s successor. The slates of many of the 11 candidates for president are dominated by warlords and fundamentalists who share the Taliban’s view that women should never be allowed out of their homes.
This isn’t one step forward, two steps back, is it?