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Public Execution Is Another Warning Sign for Afghan Women and the World
This report from Afghanistan about the public execution of a woman by a Taliban member is horrifying, and a reminder of what is at stake for Afghan women. With the approaching withdrawal of troops in 2014, Afghanistan faces the prospect of continuing the progress that has been made for women (seen in the return of millions of girls to school and the reestablishment of economic opportunities for women), or returning to the brutal days of Taliban rule marked by the degradation of women and slaughtering of men and women. The calling for the arrest of the Taliban executioner by President Hamid Karzai is a hopeful sign. His leadership in the defense of women must be acknowledged. But, the country must do more to protect their women. Afghan women fear the return of days of darkness and hopelessness after experiencing a decade of progress and expectation for a better life. Much has been sacrificed to give Afghan women a chance at a better life, and we cannot turn our backs on them now. The cost and struggle to liberate a tortured people has been high, but the alternative is unacceptable. Afghanistan is at a crossroads and countries around the world should insist that Afghanistan sustain the gains in human rights made thus far and help the country achieve her full potential – especially for her women. The world cannot endure the barbaric acts of the Taliban and terrorists. We must speak out strongly, and collectively, against these cowardice acts and support President Karzai and his leadership on this issue. We owe it to Afghans, men and women, boys and girls, who have experienced freedom and desire a new day for Afghanistan. This post was written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.