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What about Afghanistan's women

When the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan, the position of the country's women was dire, to say the least.

And now? Improved but not looking all that good as things go from bad to worse in the war-torn country. truthout reports:

"If we abandon the country, or even the countryside, don't we abandon those girls who have gone to school even when risking acid thrown in their eyes? If we prop up the deeply corrupt government of President Hamid Karzai, are we just supporting warlord fundamentalists instead of Taliban fundamentalists?

The options are so chilling that even Afghan women's groups are divided. RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, wants us out. WAW, the Women for Afghan Women, "deeply regrets having a position in favor of maintaining, even increasing troops" rather than "abandoning 15 million women and children to madmen."

And:

"We barely noticed when Karzai signed a law that would have, among other things, allowed Shiite men to withhold food from wives who refused sex. It didn't take a rigged election to show a shallow respect for democracy. If by democracy, that is, you include half the population that is female.

Today, one-third of the students are girls. Women now get health care once denied them. Is that enough? How much are we willing to pay in lives and treasure for hope? How much are we willing to lose in moral suasion, in our own eyes and those of the world, if we abandon these women?

I find this a bleak and demoralizing set of choices. The least unbearable may be to protect the population centers while rebuilding Afghan civil society, one city, one school, one health center at a time. But this works only if we include women in a debate that has been as militarized as war itself.

Afghan women are not the "add-on," the incidentals in this process. Women are civil society. We've learned all over the world that the only way to develop a stable society and economy is with the education and inclusion of women. There is no democracy without women.

So, here we go. This is our last chance. And theirs."

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