With conditions in Afghanistan still described as unstable, American soldiers will take over President Hamid Karzai’s personal security detail, Karzai’s Spokesman Said Tayab Jawab announced yesterday. Karzai made this decision in light of the assassination of vice president Haji Abdul Qadir in full daylight in Kabul earlier this month and the pervasive chaos and violence that continues to plague the country. “Whatever successes we may have witnessed so far in AfghanistanÉa single act or event can send fear down the spines of the most powerful people in Afghanistan and has the potential to seriously destabilize the situation,” United Nations Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN Security Council in a speech last week, according to the New York Times.
This move highlights a need for international peacekeepers to expand their role in Afghanistan to maintain order – a plea that has been presented repeatedly to the Bush administration by the Feminist Majority, women’s rights groups, humanitarian groups, the Afghan government and the United Nations. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) echoed this plea in the name of the women of Afghanistan in a statement on the Senate floor yesterday.
“Violence against women remains pervasive, and they have no recourse or protection. Aid workers, foreigners and Afghan women and children have been targeted for robberies, assault and rape. Women’s rights in Afghanistan will not be secure if there is no law and order,” Reid said. “Interim President Hamid Karzai has requested more international troops to help maintain order across the country. Afghan women say they feel safer when international peacekeeping troops are present. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for more peacekeepers. Democrats and Republicans alike have called for more peacekeepers in Afghanistan. And yet the Bush administration has not yet committed to increasing the number of troops engaged in peacekeeping and reuses to allow the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to operate outside the capital city of Kabul.”