Underscoring the lack of security in Afghanistan, four German peacekeeping troops were killed on Saturday in an explosion that wounded 31 others. This was the biggest attack on the international security assistance forces (ISAF) yet, according to Reuters. The peacekeeping troops were traveling on a bus in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, when a suicide bomber in a taxi drove alongside the bus and exploded, according to the Los Angeles Times. At least one Afghan citizen was killed in the explosion and an unknown number were wounded, the Times reports.
The situation in Kabul "is not yet stable and not yet 100% safe," said ISAF Lt. Col. Thomas Lobbering, according to the Times. Currently, there are only about 5,000 international peacekeeping troops stationed in Afghanistan, and they are all in Kabul. United Nations spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva cautioned that "this act ... in all likelihood is not a one-off event." Recently, citizens have been facing increasing threats for expressing their political views in Afghanistan. Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan, asserts that Afghanistan has plunged into its worst security crisis since the end of the war last year and that Western nations are sabotaging Karzai's attempts to bring security by continuing to dismiss the need to expand the international peacekeeping force (ISAF) beyond Kabul.
The Feminist Majority continues to lead the call for peace troop expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.
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. . . .