Afghan Regime No Friend to Women

In your cover story of January 29, “The Power of Nice,” Lois Capps justified her vote to fund the war in Afghanistan by voicing concern about the possible degeneration of human rights and safety of Afghan women should the U.S. withdraw.

The present condition of Afghan women is no secret. It’s been documented in articles and statements since at least 2009 and the following picture emerges: Women cannot step outside of their homes without permission from their husbands; thus most women cannot work or attend school. They are forced into marriages and 87% of women are beaten on a regular basis. Rape of women and girls, which is widespread, is a property crime requiring that restitution be made to fathers and husbands. In 2009 the U.S.- installed president Hamid Karzai signed the Shia Personal Status Law, which gives husbands the right to withdraw basic maintenance, including food, from a wife who does not obey his sexual demands. It also gives guardianship of children to fathers and grandfathers. In other words, the present West-supported mullahs and mujahadeen are Islamic fundamentalists who are very similar to the Taliban in their views on women.

This is the regime that the Capps-approved billions in war funding preserves. Shouldn’t our representative in Congress be better informed?

My sources are:

A) Ann Jones, “Remember the Women?,” Nation, 9 Nov. 2009: 22-26 (see Jones is a journalist, author, photographer, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She has done aid work in Afghanistan since around 2002.

B) “We Call for the United States to End Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan!,” an October 2009 statement issued by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Nation, 9 Nov. 2009: 20-21. (see www. The 135 or so initial signers include such well-known persons as Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, and Frances Fox Piven.

C) Ann Jones, “Why Peace is the Business of Men (But Shouldn’t Be),” Huffington Post, 18 Jan. 2011: 1-8. Re. Karzai’s record on women, Jones cites a report issued by the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium (which includes such NGOs as Oxfam, CARE, and Save the Children).

Specific topics and page numbers in the above sources:

Confinement of women A) 25, B) 20-21, C) 3-4.

Forced marriages—A) 24, B) 21.

Beating of women—A) 25 (Jones gives Unifem as her source on this; thus my letter should include “according to Unifem”).

Rape—A) 24, B) 21, C) 4.

Shia Personal Status Law—A) 22-23, B) 21, C) 4.

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