Pakistan: Taliban Should Have Role in Afghan Reconstruction
Claiming that, “One knows for sure there are many moderate elements within the Taliban communities,” Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, during Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit to Pakistan yesterday, suggested that so-called moderate factions of the Taliban should play a role in the formation of a new Afghan government. Powell has also suggested that aspects of the Taliban may be incorporated into a reconstructed Afghan government. Indian officials quickly criticized Powell and Musharraf for endorsing the idea that members of the Taliban could be called “moderate.” Indian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Nirumpama Rao commented, “Moderate Taliban is an oxymoron. There should be no place for Taliban in the infrastructure.”
The Feminist Majority is increasingly concerned that “moderate” elements of the Taliban may be considered in Afghan reconstruction. FM is also concerned about Pakistan’s backing of this plan given its history with the Taliban. Pakistan was the primary source of military support for the Taliban before the U.S.-led war against terrorism began. Taliban soldiers are often recruited from Pakistani refugee camps and trained in religious extremist schools in Pakistan called madrassas. According to refugee reports, the Taliban’s sphere of influence extends into Pakistan where soldiers roam camps, terrorizing women and children who are seventy-five percent of the Afghan refugee population. Many Afghans interviewed by the Feminist Majority believe that the Taliban is principally a Pakistan-led and supplied occupying foreign military force.
The United Nations is now considering a request made by former Afghan king Zahir Shah to send U.N. peacekeepers to Afghanistan once U.S.-led military strikes end. Lakhadar Brahimi, U.N. special convoy for Afghanistan, however, has appealed to the Security Council not to “rush to establish a peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan.” Brahimi warned that a peacekeeping mission may not have the political or financial support to succeed. He suggested instead that the U.N. continue to focus on humanitarian aid and government reconstruction.
The Feminist Majority has urged the U.S. to increase humanitarian aid, restore the rights of Afghan women, and re-establish a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan. To find out how you can help, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: Washington Post, 10/17/01; Feminist Majority
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .