Anti-Women’s Rights Pamphlets in Afghanistan Threaten Reprisals
Anti-women’s rights, handwritten pamphlets have been found in Kandahar, a former Taliban stronghold. According to a traveler quoted by Reuters, the pamphlets read, “Stop sending your women to offices and daughters to schools. It spreads indecency and vulgarity.” The pamphlet then issues the warning, “Stand ready for the consequences if you do not heed the advice.” These pamphlets have incited fear in Kandahar, a city that was the “spiritual center” for the Taliban and the home of Mullah Mohammad Omar. Threatening pamphlets have also appeared in other cities. Pamphlets in Spinbodak, on the border of Chaman, warn, “The American forces will leave the country sooner or later, but you will remain here…People helping Afghan security forces are being marked.”
The threat of violence is very real in Afghanistan, where warlords are exercising power in various regions of the country and imposing Taliban-like restrictions, especially on women. The Feminist Majority is leading the call in the U.S. to expand the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), currently only 4800 peace troops confined to Kabul, to help ensure Afghan women’s security and the restoration of their rights, the reconstruction of the country, and the establishment of democracy. Despite pleas from the United Nations and the Afghan Interim Administration, however, the Bush Administration has refused to allow an expansion of the ISAF. UN and Afghan officials believe that the immediate expansion of the ISAF is absolutely essential to disarmament, de-escalation of conflicts among warlords, preservation of women’s rights and human rights, delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the success of the loya jirga process.