KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban ambushed a convoy of a female Afghan senator on Wednesday, seriously wounding her in the attack and killing her 8-year-old daughter and a bodyguard, officials said.
Senator Rouh Gul Khirzad's husband, son and another daughter were also wounded in the attack in the Muqur district of Gazni province, according to Deputy Governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi.
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Although women and girls are disproportionately affected by conflict, their experiences and instrumental contribution to peace are often overlooked
Women must be present! So said the parliamentary commission on banking standards, which has today called for a better gender balance at the heart of investment banks in order to prevent future economic crises caused by risk-obsessed male-dominated trading floors.
Food for thought, coming the day after talks between the Taliban and the US were announced – talks where the crucial issue of women’s rights is said to be on the agenda, but will any... Read more
Filing a nomination to stand in next year’s Afghan presidential elections is, unless you happen to be one of the ‘chosen few’ backed by your personal ‘private army’, akin to signing your own death warrant. And when the person who files, a complete unknown in political circles, happens to be a woman, then she really is putting her life on the line.
This harsh reality has not, however, prevented Ms Khadija Ghaznawi Kurshun, an amazing international and national businesswoman in her own right, from doing exactly this. Personally knowing how very determined she is, this writer knows that, come... Read more
Ten years after the start of the western intervention in Afghanistan, Afghan women are facing an uncertain future. Women have strived for and made important gains since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, including in political participation and access to education, but these gains are fragile and reversible.
As security deteriorates across the country, violence against women is also on the rise. Both the Afghan and US governments are attempting to engage in parallel talks with the Taliban to reach a political solution to the conflict before the international military forces withdraw by the end... Read more
Dr. Sima Samar, head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), has been named one of the Top 10 Most Influential Women in South and Central Asia for 2013 by Central and South Asia Business.
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Both houses of the Afghan Parliament have voted to pass an act that would prohibit relatives from testifying against a criminal defendant in a judicial proceeding. If signed by President Hamid Karzai, the proposed change to the Afghan criminal code would prevent family members from testifying as victims or witnesses in all criminal cases, including domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault cases. The act would also ban children and doctors – including those who may have examined victims – from testifying against the accused.
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A legal requirement that women make up at least a quarter of all provincial elected officials was quietly removed by conservative male parliamentarians, officials said, the latest in a series of decisions undermining advances in women's rights in Afghanistan. The change, engineered in mid-May, was only discovered by women members of parliament a few days ago.
The action has sparked fears among women's rights activists that President Hamid Karzai's government is increasingly willing to trade away their hard fought gains to placate the Taliban as part of attempts to coax them to the peace... Read more
Mariam Wardak is one of those young Afghans with her feet in two worlds: At 28, she has spent much of her adult life in Afghanistan, but she grew up in the United States after her family fled there. She vividly remembers the culture shock of visits back to her family’s village in rural Wardak Province a decade ago.
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Afghan women represented a third of the vote and a historic number of provincial candidates at the weekend's elections. Aid workers say that women are defiant in the progress of democracy and rights, and won't be deterred by violent insurgency.
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Women community leaders receiving education in effective campaign tactics will train more than 100 female candidates for Provincial Council in the run-up to the August 20 elections. Of the nearly 3200 candidates running for Provincial Councils nationwide, 328 are female. The idea is to help women run for and win office, and to grow the ranks of women serving in government.
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Hundreds of Paktia Province women October 23 rallied in Gardez to announce their intentions to actively participate in the upcoming elections next year.
"We will be voting for the candidates who could help us achieve our rights," civil society activist Anar Gula said.
Women's participation in the electoral process has increased in Afghanistan recently.
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Following the United Nations fourth World Conference on women in Beijing-china, which was attended by group of Afghan women from various organizations and UN agencies, the idea of establishing a network to promote unity and cooperation among Afghan women was born.
The Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) founded in 1995 is a cornerstone of Afghanistan’s fledging women’s movement, serving as a well-established network for the growing number of women’s organizations and individual members operating in the country. AWN has had a strong presence in several Afghan provinces through AWN’s secretariat in... Read more
Efforts to boost the participation of women in Afghan politics are in serious jeopardy, an IWPR debate has heard.
Noor Mohammad Noor, a spokesman for the Independent Elections Commission (IEC), said that attitudes towards female members of parliament and provincial councillors remained "backward" and that it was proving difficult to change public perceptions.
Addressing more than 20 students from universities in Kabul and Nangarhar, he claimed legislation passed in July last year to reduce the number of provincial council seats reserved for women was a mistake.
Under changes agreed by the... Read more
This week marked the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. In two South Asian countries, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, women seeking equality have seen some surprising gains despite ongoing setbacks. VOA's Sarah Williams spoke with Carol Yost, director of the Asia Foundation's Women's Empowerment Program, who says women fared very well in last year's parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. "They [women] hold 27 percent of the seats in the national assembly and 25 percent in the provincial councils. So that has been remarkable progress and, in fact, is higher than many countries... Read more
When they did venture beyond their four walls, they wafted through crowded markets covered from head to toe in the all-encompassing burqa. While most women in conservative Afghanistan may still wear the burqa, today's Afghan woman has choices she didn't have during the Taliban rule that lasted from the mid-1990s to 2001 — like running for parliament.
In the last elections in 2010, 69 women won seats in Afghanistan's 249-seat parliament. The next parliamentary vote will be held in 2015, but first are the April 5 presidential and provincial council elections.
Under Afghan law, 20 percent of... Read more
Noor Zia Atmar, a young activist and then one of the country’s first woman MPs, travelled the world with her colleagues to show that things were changing.
That was three years ago. Now, she lives in a shelter for battered women, the victim of an abusive husband - and a symbol of the way progress in women’s rights is unravelling as the West withdraws and more traditional conservative values return to the fore.
“Women are in a worse condition now. Every day they are being killed, having their ears, noses cut,” said Ms Atmar, 40, speaking in a strong, clear voice, her eye make-up hidden... Read more
Afghan women protesting against a law said to legalise marital rape have been pelted with stones by conservative opponents in Kabul. The group of up to 300 women faced a barrage of abuse and small stones from a counter demonstration up to twice the size of their protest. Sections of the new law, which rules on marital relations, divorce, inheritance and family matters for the country's Shia Muslim minority provoked international alarm when passed last month.
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"Eight years after the fall of the Taliban, and the establishment of the [Hamid] Karzai government, Afghan women continue to be among the worst off in the world. Their situation is dismal in every area, including in health, education, employment, freedom from violence, equality before the law, and political participation," said the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report. In March, the poor condition of women’s rights in Afghanistan was brought into the news again by the parliament’s passing of the Shia Personal Status law - which Karzai went on to sign.
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The Forum on Women, Peace and Security in Afghanistan, 4-6 December 2012, jointly supported by the N-Peace Network and the Research Institute for Women, Peace and Security (RIWPS), was attended by women Members of Parliament and more than 80 women representatives of the Provincial Peace Councils and the High Peace Council from some of the most conflict-ridden parts of the country.
The event aimed to establish the basis for greater female participation in Afghanistan’s national dialogue on peace and reconciliation over the next 3-5 years and provide a space for the finalization of an action... Read more
The UN says 1,145 civilians were killed in the Afghan war in the first six months of this year, blaming 80 per cent of the deaths on fighters - more than half of those caused by roadside bombs.
Both developments come as the independent election commission officially announced April 5, 2014, as the date of the next presidential election in the Central Asian nation.
Fazel Ahmad Manawi, chief of the Independent Election Commission, said on Wednesday that provincial elections would take place on the same day.
Manawi, speaking in Kabul, said: "we are even prepared to pave the ground for the armed... Read more