Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama Friday urging a stronger focus on Afghan women and girls at an international conference on Afghanistan to be held in London this week. In her letter, Boxer indicated deep concern that women are “not being viewed as an essential element” in the US’s Afghanistan stabilization strategy. She said, “Just yesterday, the Department of State released its ‘Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy,’ a detailed, thirty-page document [that] only makes one small reference to Afghan women. Most disturbing, it contains an entire section largely dedicated to reintegrating the Taliban, who are infamous for the atrocities they have committed against women…This is particularly alarming, because the future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the empowerment of Afghan women and girls. She continued and said, “It has been proven that women are inclined to use their successes to invest in their communities, to start small businesses, and to send their children to school. Giving women the tools to succeed is critical to Afghanistan’s chance at a brighter and more secure future.” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today that “the London conference will be attended by President Karzai, the U.N. Secretary General Ban, 60 nations will be represented…[and] we will be announcing new figures from NATO forces and for Afghan forces in the time to come and we will be focusing on how the political and civilian surge that we plan in Afghanistan can match and compliment the military surge that is taking place,” reported Voice of America.