Afghanistan: Protesters Urge Reform

Hundreds of protesters yesterday demonstrated in the Afghan capital of Kabul, demanding that the government adhere to the 2001 Bonn agreement, which laid the groundwork for a return to democracy in Afghanistan. Zarmina Akhgar, deputy chairwoman of the Freedom and Democracy Movement (Dari: Nahzat-e Azadi wa Democracy) joined other demonstrators, including members of the National and Islamic Movement (Dari: Jonbesh-e Melli wa Eslami) in calling for “equality of rights for men and women in real sense,” saying, “Now, we have the permission to come out of our houses, but we want women to play a more significant role,” according to the BBC.

Included in the 11-article communique submitted by protesters to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) was a call to reopen the independent weekly newspaper Aftab, forced to close last month for criticizing Afghan warlords in the current administration. “We need press freedom and we don’t want any fundamentalists in government,” Jawid Khoystani told the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable, with continuing murders of aid workers, attacks on United Nations de-mining operations, Taliban-like restrictions in some provinces, factional fighting, and the bombing of girls’ schools. The Feminist Majority continues leading the call for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.

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Associated Press 7/15/03; BBC 7/15/03; Feminist Daily News Wire

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