Dangerous Winter Looms Ahead for Afghans Displaced by Taliban
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans that have been forced to flee their homes by the Taliban militia’s reign of terror face a long cold winter that UN officials predict could be “as much a killer as the actual fighting.”
In the Panjshir Valley, one of the few places in Afghanistan that the Taliban militia does not yet control, an estimated 65,000 displaced Afghans currently seek refuge. But they are not safe there. This summer, Taliban forces sent 6,000 soldiers to capture the towns and villages not under Taliban control. Opposition forces managed to turn back the Taliban, but not before much of the land was destroyed, and many Afghans were killed.
Now after being driven from their homes, watching their relatives be slaughtered and their houses burned, Afghan refugees are preparing for a deadly winter. Twenty-one years of war have left most roads difficult to travel; winter snows threaten to make them impassable. The UN is currently soliciting $3.3 million in donations to help get aid to displaced persons and Afghans in areas devastated by Taliban soldiers.
Media Resources: New York Times and NNI - October 18, 1999
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .