A survey of approximately 1,000 Afghan women, conducted by Action Aid and Oxfam, revealed that the majority of the women (86 percent) were concerned about the possibility of returning to a Taliban-style government. Seventy-two percent of the women surveyed had experienced improvements and increased rights since the war began in Afghanistan in 2001, and 37 percent expressed apprehension about the withdrawal of international troops, the study found.

According to Action Aid, “Women are [now] free to be educated and to work. They serve as government ministers and MPs and work as doctors, teachers, professors, entrepreneurs and lawyers. These are significant achievements. However, huge challenges remain, with many women still denied basic rights. Action Aid believes that including women in the peace, reconciliation and transition processes is the best means of safeguarding and furthering women’s hard-won civil freedoms and human rights.”

During Taliban control from 1996 to 2001, women and girls were not permitted to attend work or school and their mobility and access to healthcare were limited.

Reuters 10/3/11; BBC 10/2/11

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