Afghan Women Killed For Registering Women to Vote

Two Afghan women were killed and 13 more were wounded by a bomb that exploded on a bus filled with female election workers. According to the New York Times, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks and warned Afghans to stop working on the election process. The women on the bus were registration officials who were traveling to Rodat, Afghanistan to register women to vote, reports the New York Times. As a result of the attack, the United Nations has reported that all female registration teams in the eastern, southeastern, and southern regions of Afghanistan were suspended.

In another Taliban-led attack aimed to derail the upcoming Afghan elections, as many as 16 Afghan men were killed in Uruzgan in the southern Afghanistan after Taliban fighters had learned that they had registered to vote. According to the Associated Press, 4.5 million Afghan voters are currently registered, of which only one-third are women. In areas where the militants are most active, such as the southern and eastern parts of the country, women are registering in very low numbers.

Despite the rise of attacks against women in Afghanistan, a recent State Department report says the current “security situation in Afghanistan is better than it has been for 30 years.” Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, led by Dr. Sima Samar, issued a statement to NATO urging an increase and expansion in the size and scope of peacekeeping troops because the “deteriorating situation and increasing insecurity around the country over the past six months have jeopardized the peace process and protection of human rights in Afghanistan.”

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Associated Press 6/28/04; 6/27/04; The New York Times 6/27/04, 6/26/04; Dr. Samar statement 6/28/04; Feminist Majority Foundation

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