The United Nations marked International Women’s Day last Friday by looking ahead at the future for women in Afghanistan. Afghan Minister for Women’s Affairs Dr. Sima Samar sent a statement to the gathering stating that “The long darkness for the women and girls of our country may finally be over.” Samar, however, also highlighted the important role that the international community must play in helping to ensure that Afghan women’s rights are fully restored. “We hope the international community will not forget Afghanistan again,” said Samar.
Sima Wali, a delegate to the United Nations talks on Afghanistan in Bonn in December 2001 and an organizer of the Afghan Women’s Summit, noted that Afghan women still face many obstacles in their struggle for full participation in Afghan society. According to Wali, 12 million Afghan women live in “abject poverty.” These women are in desperate need of aid, job training, healthcare, and educational services.
On International Women’s Day, the Feminist Majority, joined by other national women’s organizations, called upon the U.S. government to support the expansion of international peace troops throughout Afghanistan and to expedite funding for the Afghan interim government, especially the Ministry of Women’s Affairs