Afghan and Pakistani officials intend for the release of Baradar to advance peace talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban. A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that the country welcomed the decision to release Baradar, stating "his release will certainly help the Afghan peace process." Pakistan has already released 33 Afghan Taliban prisoners this year. At least some of those released are believed to have rejoined the militia group.
Formal peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan and U.S. governments were set to begin last June in Qatar. Talks stalled, however, after the Taliban opened an office in Doha proclaiming itself to be an official government, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Together with Women for Afghan Women, the Feminist Majority Foundation has consistently warned about the dangers of negotiating with the Taliban and has urged that the international community continue to pursue other peace channels through funding for economic development, security, and women's rights. "The Taliban can't be trusted," said Manizha Naderi, Executive Director of Women for Afghan Women. "They are killing civilians on a daily basis. You can't negotiate peace on the one hand and kill civilians with the other." Naderi also cautioned against backsliding on women's rights, essential to the development of Afghanistan and the reconciliation process. "The Taliban will say that they will accept the Afghan Constitution and will respect girls' right to go to school and women's right to work, but when the US leaves, they can do what they want. Negotiations with the Taliban are not good for women."
Media Resources: New York Times, 9/10/13, 2/16/10; Al Jazeera America 9/14/13; CBS News, 6/23/13
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. . . .