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.
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The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .