Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke briefly yesterday about the need for Afghan women and girls to be involved in the transition of security to the Afghan military. Clinton made these remarks at an international conference yesterday in London on the subject of Afghan security.
During her remarks, Clinton announced a Women’s Action Plan that “includes initiatives focused on women’s security, women’s leadership in the public and private sector; women’s access to judicial institutions, education, and health services; women’s ability to take advantage of economic opportunities, especially in the agricultural sector.” She described the program as “a comprehensive, forward-looking agenda that stands in stark contrast to al-Qaida’s recently announced agenda for Afghanistan’s women, attempting to send female suicide bombers to the West.”
Under Taliban rule, women and girls were not allowed to be educated, employed, go outside their homes without the company of a close male relative, go to a male doctor (female doctors were forbidden to work), or go to a hospital. Girl babies were even forbidden treatment by male doctors. Women were beaten and killed for violations of intolerable restrictions.
Since 2005, deadly attacks on Afghan civilians, relief workers, teachers, and private contractors have been increasing. Women who are aid workers, elected officials, government employees, and journalists have been especially targeted by extremists with the Taliban often claiming responsibility. Today, where the Taliban holds sway, atrocities are regularly committed against Afghan women and girls. Over 1,000 girls’ schools have been destroyed.