Taliban Forces Take Control of Northwestern Faryab Province
Taliban forces have broken through opposition forces in Northwestern Afghanistan and have taken control of Mailman, the capital of the Northern Faryab province, the Afghan Islamic press reported last Sunday. A Taliban spokesperson said over 2,000 soldiers broke through Northern Alliance front lines, taking hundreds of war prisoners faithful to Usbeck leader General Rashid Dostum. According to the Afghan press the fundamentalist, religious group, which now controls over two-thirds of Afghanistan, swept the Faryab province and are further advancing on Dostum's remaining military strongholds. Up until now, Northern Alliance forces, racked with internal fighting among members, have managed to restrain Taliban soldiers from capturing the majority of the northern provinces.
The Taliban militia group is not recognized by the U.N., but rules 85 percent of Afghanistan. The group has issued decrees that amount to gender apartheid and the blatant eradication of women's human rights, including: prohibiting women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a husband, son or father, requiring women to wear a head-to-toe covering called a burqa, forbidding women and girls to attend school or to receive care from a male doctor that is not a relative.
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .