The Taliban announced to farmers earlier this week that they may return to opium production if the United States attacks. The Taliban had placed a ban on opium production in 2000 declaring it was “un-Islamic,” but many experts speculated that was just to drive the price up from $30 per kilogram to $500 per kilogram. The Taliban had large stockpiles of opium at that time. Earlier this year, the United States gave the Taliban $40 million as part of a drug suppression program, urging a conversion from poppy cultivation to agrarian practices. Of course, the ban did not reduce the amount of opium going out of the country.
Under the Taliban, Afghanistan rapidly replaced Burma as the number one producer of opium in the world. Currently, the Taliban produces some 70 percent of the world’s opium, which is refined in laboratories to make heroin. Last year, about 90 percent of the heroin supply in Europe was produced from poppies grown in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and much of the heroin on the streets in the US also originates in Taliban-controlled poppy fields. The Taliban taxes poppy production, taking a percentage from local farmers who grow the flowers.
Join the Feminist Majority Foundation in telling the US government that, with the drive to end terrorism, we must make sure that restoration of the rights of Afghan women and girls and their freedom and safety are not forgotten and are a central objective of U.S. foreign policy. Visit the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan
Media Resources: Boston Globe, 9/26/01 and Feminist Majority Foundation
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. . . .