As Obama Escalates War Afgahan Women Face Growing Oppression

Interview with Yifat Susskind, communications director with MADRE, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

Afghan women, long excluded from any public role, have become more visible in recent days. Legislation regulating family life for the nation’s Shiite minority was passed by the Afghan legislature and signed into law by President Hamid Karzai, even though critics — both Afghan women and foreign heads of state — said the law essentially legalized rape within marriage. Karzai has for the moment blocked implementation of the law. To emphasize their opposition, hundreds of women marched in Kabul in mid-April — standing up to insults and physical attacks from outraged Afghan men.

Last month, a group of Afghan women organized several thousand of their sisters to publicly mark International Women’s Day on March 8 with a nationwide strike. However, a key women’s rights activist, Sitara Achakzai, a member of Kandahar’s provincial council, was murdered on April 12. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Yifat Susskind, communications director with the U.S.-based women’s rights organization, MADRE, which is about to launch a campaign to protect the rights of Afghan women activists. She discusses MADRE’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s deployment of an additional 21,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan, and MADRE’s views on negotiating with the Taliban.

Contact MADRE by calling (212) 627-0444 or visit their website at

Listen via RealAudio:

See also:
* New Law Threatens Women’s Freedom in Afghanistan
* Five million children not in school in Afghanistan


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