Many prominent anti-Taliban Afghan nationals who fled their homes to live in Pakistan have been harassed, threatened, beaten, and even murdered.
Murder victims include the wife and children of political activist Abdul Haq and the brother-in-law of Afghanistan's last communist president, Najibullah, who himself was hanged by the Taliban's army. Also murdered were the wife and son of Shah Bacha Shinwari. Shinwari leads a moderate Afghan reconciliation commission.
The homes of Afghan National Democratic Party head Satan Gul Sherzad and a relative of former Afghan President Sibghatullah Mojaddidi were attacked, although no one was injured.
Afghan women who hold jobs in Peshawar, Pakistan report that men claiming to be members of the Taliban have threatened them and warned them to stop working at return to their homes. Female teachers at girls schools within Afghan refugee camps have also been threatened. Men claiming to be part of the Taliban warned them to limit schooling to girls under the age of 8 and to teach only the Muslim holy book, the Koran.
Taliban leaders have denied responsibility for all of these crimes. Taliban Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Sattar Pakties stated, "We are not interested in any other country....We have enough problems in our own country."
Human rights group Amnesty International has urged the Pakistani government to protect Afghans living there with little success.
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. . . .