Tuesday, August 01, 2006

We cannot forget Afghanistan

Every single day, somewhere in Afghanistan, a girls' school is burned down or a female teacher killed by the Taliban.

Makes you feel awkward about skipping classes, doesn't it?

If you recall, the treatment of Afghan women and girls was one of the reasons our government advocated going to Afghanistan. Under Taliban rule, women and girls were not allowed to seek education or employment. They weren't even allowed to be outside without a male relative escorting them.

After the Taliban was overthrown, schools were opened immediately by the new Afghan government in 2002. Some 34% of girls were estimated to be going to school and well over 50% in the major cities of Kabul and Herat.

Now unfortunately, the Taliban is fighting back. Bomb threats and violent attacks have kept most girls home and many schools have closed. Nearly one-third of all districts have no schools for girls.

Violence has hit an all time high and yet our government says nothing about the dire situation plaguing women and girls.

You can help give these women a proper voice. Support the Afghan Women's Empowerment Act.

The bill, which was introduced in each house of Congress by Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Carolyn Maloney, authorizes the President to appropriate $10 million each year for three years for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. Also $5 million each year for the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs, and $30 million each year to be used by Afghan women-led NGOs to provide adult literacy, technical training, health care, education, and other critically needed services to women and girls throughout Afghanistan.

Urge your elected officials NOT to turn their back on the women in Afghanistan!


Sarah said...

There was a great article in the paper today about this very topic, it focused specifically on one woman who fled Kabul with her husband and teaches students privately for fear of the Taliban retaliation. Even at her husband's urging, she has refused to give up teaching and I can never imagine having to live like that.

The story also talked about finding grenades in their schoolhouses, and male teachers being beheaded in front of their students for teaching co-ed classes. It's chilling.

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