GOP Proposes Only Additional $400 Million for Afghanistan
House Republicans called for a $1.7 billion cut in President Bush's emergency supplemental request for the reconstruction funding for Iraq and only a $400 million increase in reconstruction aid for Afghanistan. The additional $400 million makes the $1.2 billion for Afghanistan's reconstruction aid package only a little more than 1 percent of the $87 billion Iraq and Afghanistan emergency supplemental package.
While the request for additional funding for Afghanistan is a move in the right direction, humanitarian and women's rights groups have expressed concern that the needs and Afghanistan are still being shortchanged. According to Eleanor Smeal, the president of the Feminist Majority, the lack of funding in the request for Afghanistan's reconstruction "jeopardizes the rights of Afghan women and girls as well as Afghanistan’s future." Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani says that $30 billion is needed for reconstruction. So far, the international community has provided only $1.8 billion, with a little of that money going to the Afghan government.
According to the House Appropriations Committee, the additional $400 million for Afghanistan's reconstruction would be to accelerate reconstruction of roads, schools and education, private sector development and power generation, the central government of Afghanistan, and elections and improved governance. However, there are no funds requested for desperately needed projects such as electrical systems, water and sanitation systems, housing construction, or communications in Afghanistan.
3/2/2015 Iranian Activist Wins International Human Rights Award for Hijab Campaign - Journalist Masih Alinejad was awarded the Women's Rights Award at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy last week for her activism supporting Iranian women who choose not to cover their heads in a hijab.
Alinejad's Facebook page, "My Stealthy Freedom," has gained international attention and more than 700,000 followers by posting pictures of Iranian women without the hijab. . . .