Representatives Raise Concerns About Lack of Security in Afghanistan
At yesterday's House International Relations Committee hearing on US policy in Afghanistan, several Representatives pressed for more security and reconstruction funding in Afghanistan. Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA), ranking Democrat on the committee, fears that “we may be on the verge of losing the battle for a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan due to the lack of security and reconstruction funding.” Lantos stressed that the size of the international peacekeeping forces (ISAF) run by NATO should be doubled in size and should expand its effort to more insecure areas of Afghanistan.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counternarcotics, MaryBeth Long, testified that the increase in poppy cultivation is benefiting extremist groups including the Taliban. According to Long, the “substantial benefits” extremist groups are receiving from the poppy trade “may undermine [US] efforts to provide long-term security in Afghanistan.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) stated that he is “struck by the disparity between what we are doing in Iraq and what we are not doing in Afghanistan.” The spending for Iraq's reconstruction is 20 times more than Afghanistan’s despite the fact that the two countries are the same size and Afghanistan has suffered more destruction over 23 years of war.
Only 2.8 million of the 10.5 million estimated eligible Afghan voters are currently registered, of which approximately one-third are women. Poor security has not only delayed voter registration, but the Afghan election itself. The first post-Taliban elections that were to take place in June were postponed until September due to the lack of security. Despite the dire security situation in Afghanistan, peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan remain a small contingent of some 6,500 soldiers.
The Feminist Majority and other leading women’s rights and human rights advocates argue that without security, women in Afghanistan will never be able to obtain their rights and the country will never have sustained peace and democracy.
10/21/2014 Afghanistan's New First Lady Advances Women's Issues - Just a few days after moving to the presidential palace, Afghanistan's new First Lady Rula Ghani said that she hopes to encourage greater respect for women.
Rula Ghani already broke tradition by participating in her husband, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's, campaign for President. . . .
10/21/2014 Hulu Silences Rape Survivor Speaking Out Against Anti-Abortion Amendment 67 in Colorado - Hulu, an online, ad-supported streaming service, has refused to run an advertisement from the "No on 67" campaign in Colorado, citing the company's policy regarding "controversial" political positions on issues like abortion.
In a letter to the CEO of Hulu, dated October 10, the Vote No on 67 Campaign, which is supported by the Feminist Majority Foundation, asked the company to reconsider its unwillingness to air a 35-second spot featuring a rape survivor's testimony about the far-reaching impact of Colorado's proposed Amendment 67. . . .