Violence against women in Afghanistan, according to this report by Amnesty International, is perpetuated by a ‘culture’ of impunity on a vast scale for such violence. In Afghanistan, few cases of abuse and violence are reported to the criminal justice system, and almost none of the cases that were have been subject to investigation or prosecution. Amnesty International’s research indicated that in some parts of the country custom or tradition is used to legitimise the violent deaths of women.

Uphold the rights of Afghan women and girls to be freed from gender-based violence. Secure the independence of women shelters in Afghanistan. The Global Campaign to Stop Violence against Women in the Name of ‘Culture’, an international network of women’s human rights defenders and advocates, fully supports our sisters in Afghanistan in resisting their government’s attempt to put the country’s women shelters under State control. If the Afghan government proceeds with this proposed legislation, it will invite serious risks to the already-fragile security of women and girls who are in desperate need of protection from gender–based violence in their country. This development is alarming and deserves the attention of the international community.

The recent move by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA) to take control of women’s shelters is deeply worrying.  I have spoken to NGO workers who run these shelters, and they have been outraged by the new legislation. Over the past few years I have personally been able to see the work of five of these shelters out of a total of 14 set up around the country by NGOs after the Taleban’s fall. The shelters house hundreds of Afghan women and girls whose lives are at risk due to forced marriage, underaged marriage, and other forms of violence. Amnesty International urges the Afghan government to reconsider this terrible piece of legislation and, instead, recommit itself to protecting the women of Afghanistan and those courageous human rights defenders, many of them women, who are trying to counteract years of discrimination and sexual violence against the women of Afghanistan.

As a sequel to their edited volume, Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women (University of California Press, March 2011), Jennifer Heath, independent scholar, author and editor of nine books, and Ashraf Zahedi, a University of California, Berkley scholar, are assembling an edited book about  the children of Afghanistan. The first of its kind, this comprehensive collection will examine the impact of socio-economic, political, and cultural factors that shape the lives of Afghan children from birth to the legal marriage ages of 16 and 18 and that contextualizes their experiences in diverse social settings. Articles (no longer than 5,000 words) will be due on May 1st, 2011. 

Les talibans ne sont plus opposés à l'idée que les filles fréquentent l'école, affirme le ministre de l'Éducation afghan, Farooq Wardak, dans une entrevue accordée au Times Educational Supplement de Londres. L'information n'a pas été confirmée par les talibans.

« Ce que j'entends au plus haut niveau politique chez les talibans, c'est qu'ils ne sont plus opposés à l'éducation ni à l'éducation des filles », affirme M. Wardak. « C'est un changement d'attitude, un changement comportemental, un changement culturel. »

قال وزير التربية الأفغاني، فاروق وردك، إن حركة طالبان قد تخلَّت عن معارضتها لتعليم الفتيات في البلاد.

ففي مقابلة نُشرت تفاصيلها في الملحق التربوي لصحيفة التايمز البريطانية، قال وردك: "إن "التبدل الثقافي يعني أن طالبان لم تعد تعارض تعليم الفتيات".

يُشار إلى أنه لم يكن يُسمح للنساء في ظل حكم حركة طالبان بالعمل أو الحصول على التعليم.

The Taliban's leadership is prepared to drop its ban on girls' schools, one of Afghanistan's most influential cabinet ministers has claimed. According to Farooq Wardak, the country's education minister, the movement has decided to scrap the ban on female education that helped earn the movement worldwide infamy in the 1990s. Wardak said the Taliban's leadership had undergone a profound change since losing power after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Harmful traditional practices violating women’s rights, including honour killings, child marriage and giving away girls to settle disputes, are pervasive in Afghanistan, says a United Nations report released today that calls on the Government to implement a new law aimed at ending the scourge. Based on research and interviews in nearly all 34 provinces with women, men, Government authorities, religious leaders and community groups, the human rights unit of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) found that the practices occur among all ethnic groups, in rural and urban areas, and that the most harmful among them violate not only Afghan law but also Islamic Sharia law.

Zarghoona* has completed her three-month sentence at a prison in Kandahar Province, southern Afghanistan, but she is not allowed home because no male relative has shown up to guarantee that she will not run away from home again. “All my family has abandoned me. I am dead for them but they [prison authorities] say they will only release me to a man from my family,” the woman told IRIN in a phone interview facilitated by an official who preferred anonymity. 

Open letter to President of Afghanistan: H.E. President of Afghanistan, The last decade in the history of our country, despite all the shortcomings, was full of hope for the women of Afghanistan. In the first few years of the decade, we witnessed positive developments toward freedom of women from yokes of captivity, fanaticism and fundamentalism. These hopes opened a new page in history for women and we may dare say that the newly founded democratic government of Afghanistan became a bastion of ideals of gender equality and justice for women who were tired of the rule of fanaticism and misogynism. Those developments revived the lost dignity of Afghanistan at the international level. Alas, those hopes and achievements have been subjected to disruption and regression in recent years leading to human catastrophes such as assassinations, stoning and gender discrimination.