Former Afghan King Supports Taliban Role in New Government
Afghanistan's former king Mohammed Zahir Shah has agreed that moderate factions of the Taliban should play a decision-making role in the re-formation of Afghan government. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have also endorsed this position while Russia and India remain opposed to opening any leadership roles to the Taliban. Reports have suggested that possible allowances are being made for the Taliban at the insistence of Pakistan, which is trying to dilute the influence of the Northern Alliance in the reconstruction process.
Pakistan had been the primary source of support to the Taliban before the U.S.-led war on terrorism began, supplying military aid and personnel. Many Afghans interviewed by the Feminist Majority believe that the Taliban is principally a Pakistan-led and supplied occupying foreign military force.
The Feminist Majority is conducting a major campaign urging that Afghan women's rights be restored and that a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan be re-established. Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority President, has noted that the discussion of incorporating so-called moderate elements of the Taliban into the reconstruction process in Afghanistan is of increasing concern. The Taliban has committed horrific crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, including the institution of gender apartheid, a system under which women have lost the most basic human rights.
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. . . .