In a Los Angeles Times interview Thursday, Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, emphasized that women’s rights must not be marginalized as a side issue in the U.S. fight to end the terrorist Taliban regime. Highlighting that in many ways, Afghan women were the first victims of the Taliban, Smeal insisted that, in order to create global stablity, Afghan women’s rights must be restored.
“We have been saying for years that a country where so many people have no rights will create international instability,” said Smeal. “People just thought, ‘Oh, there they go about the women again.’ People need to realize that women are important, not just in their own right, but that we’re the canaries in the coal mine. How women are treated in a good indication of which way a society is going.”
Smeal also called for increased humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees, hundreds of thousands of which have fled in recent days fearing a U.S. military attack since the September 11th attack on the U.S. U.N. officials estimate that million Afghans are on the move within Afghanistan. A humanitarian crisis has already mounted at the Afghan borders to Pakistan and Iran, where officials have sealed off entry to fleeing Afghan refugees. Tajikistan, the only remaining country to which Afghans could seek harbor, announced plans today to close its borders as well.