Taliban Accuses Relief Worker of Spying and Anti-Taliban Propaganda
International relief agencies have been working in an renewed climate of danger to their well-being since last week's Taliban edict ordering all aid agencies and the United Nations to dismiss all Afghan women staff. The Taliban now says this edict as motivated by consensus that Afghan women international aid workers could serve as spies.
Taliban officials took into custody Mary MacMakin after the release of the edict but has been deported from Afghanistan because of Taliban charges of spying and the spread of anti-Taliban propaganda. MacMakin dismisses the Taliban charges saying instead that she is a "threat for the Taliban because my work is with women.'' MacMakin who heads the Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Support for Afghanistan, has worked since 1997 to help Afghan women find home-based income generating projects. MacMakin states that "they (the Taliban) don't want women to work outside of the home, don't want them to be educated or give them a hint of freedom or be creative."
Since the Taliban control of the Afghan capitol Kabul in 1996, the extremist regime has enforced laws that refute women and girls access to education, employment outside of the home and quality medical care. The Taliban's attacks on the human rights of women and girls have contributed to Afghanistan's ranking of having the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. A report released by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights indicates that every day in Afghanistan an average of 45 women die of pregnancy related causes resulting in 16,000 maternal deaths annually.
Media Resources: BBC News, 13 July 2000 Associated Press, 13 July 2
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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.
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