Code 48469
PublishDate: Thursday, March 29, 2012 14:19

Is the U.S committed to the rights of Afghan women?

To those fear womens rights will be sacrificed in talks, Clinton repeated The United States cannot and will not let that happen.

 Last week, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton make a passionate commitment to the contrary at a lunch marking the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Afghan Womens Council Durin this period of transition, she said it is absolutely critical we protect these gains and expand on them the Himani Herald reported.  
To those who fear womens rights will be sacrificed in talks, Clinton repeated what she has said in Kabul and elsewhere The United States cannot and will not let that happen. Clinton is correct, and I applaud her passion on this issue. But given the slippage that;s already occurring in women`s rights in anticipation of the U.S. withdrawal, I wonder how she will be able to keep her pledge. To understand how much Afghan women could lose, let me offer a few statistics. As Clinton noted, in 2001, life expectancy for women in Afghanistan was just 44 years. Now it is 62 years. In the Taliban era, almost no girls went to school, but today three million do. In the past decade, almost 120,000 Afghan girls have graduated from high school, and 15,000 are enrolled in universities. There is no doubt that the life of women and girls in rural areas and even in cities is still seriously restricted in accordance with local custom. And many girls no longer attend school in areas where the Taliban have returned. But, having visited Afghanistan in 1999, when it was under Taliban rule, I can assure you that women is progress since then has been substantial. On that trip, I spoke with little girls who were attending secret schools at great risk. I interviewed widows who could not get medical care because no women could venture outdoors without a male relative age 16 or older. I talked to educated women who were virtually imprisoned because they could not go outside or work. Today, one-fourth of government posts and 28 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women. Afghan women and girls make up

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