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Killings prompt call for protection of Afghan women

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By Sayed Salahuddin
Wed 13 Jun 2007

KABUL, June 13 (Reuters) – The killings of two female journalists and two school girls in Afghanistan prompted a government ministry on Wednesday to call on authorities to provide security for women in schools and at their workplace.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killings in the past fortnight, but women have often been the victims of attacks by ultra-conservative forces, not just the Taliban.

“It seems a wave of hostility against women has renewed recently and the targets… have been educated women or school students,” the Women’s Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

It called on the government to provide security for women and girls at the workplace and in the classroom.

On Tuesday, two girls were shot dead outside their school just south of Kabul.

In the past two weeks a female journalist was shot in the capital, and a colleague was killed on its northern outskirts.

On Wednesday, people in the southeastern province of Paktia, close to where the students were killed, received warnings against sending their children to schools, and civil employees against working with the government, the interior ministry said.

“Enemies of Culture and Learning gave a warning to noble people of Paktia… to stop sending their children to school and (that) civil workers and teachers should quit their jobs,” the ministry said.

Afghan government officials usually use the term “Enemies of Afghanistan” to describe Taliban and their al Qaeda allies.

Defying the warning, Paktia residents staged a protest several hours long, the ministry said.

The Taliban movement, which banned women from most outdoor work and barred females from education when it was in power, has already distanced itself from the students’ killings, but could not be reached immediately for comment about the warning in Paktia.

The Afghan education minister had said on Tuesday he was concerned about further attacks on school girls.

Although the situation of women has improved since the days when the Taliban ruled the country, they still face hardships in Afghanistan’s male-dominated, tribal society.

While more women and girls have been able to go to school and get jobs since the Taliban were ousted in 2001, they still face threats, either from family members or from factional forces, even in areas where the Taliban have no influence.

One of the journalists killed had been an outspoken critic of some factional commanders.

Last month, the country’s lower house of parliament expelled a woman lawmaker who had described the assembly as worse than a stable.

Malalai Joya, 28-year-old women’s rights activist, won her parliamentary seat in 2005 elections, and had been an outspoken critic of some mujahideen (holy warrior) leaders and commanders.

Twenty-five percent of seats in the Afghan parliament are reserved for women. There are 68 women among the 248 members of parliament.
© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Written by afghandevnews

June 14, 2007 at 4:09 am

One Response

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  1. I just want to let you know Im appalled at men’s barbaric treatment of women in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Surely these attitudes can be changed by targetting boys at an early age in schools etc???

    I would like to know more about the sewing school for females in Mukhtar. Can you help me find a web site?

    All the best with your efforts

    Anna O'Halloran

    June 21, 2007 at 10:06 am

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