'Worse than under the Taliban'

Louise Nousratpour in Eastbourne
Friday March 12, 2010
The Morning Star

Eight years of war and occupation in the name of liberation have done nothing to protect women in Afghanistan from violence and poverty, delegates to the TUC women's conference have said.

The country is still at war with no economy to speak of and democracy is a shameful facade where Nato puppet Hamid Karzai won last year's election amid allegations of vote-rigging, conference heard.

The Afghan president is said to have little control over the capital Kabul, let alone the rest of the country.

FBU delegate Vicky Knight said: "In this chaos, women's rights are seen as something that can be traded away so the international coalition can find an exit strategy."

Unison speaker Kathrina Murray warned that Afghanistan was "the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman and perhaps the only country where suicide is higher among women than men.

"And Karzai is moving the country further away from democracy and women's liberation with the full support of the international community."

Mr Karzai passed a law last August which opponents said makes women's situation "worse than under the Taliban."

Under the law, rape in marriage is legal, only fathers and grandfathers are granted custody of children and women must have their husband's permission before they can work or study.

Ms Knight called on the TUC and affiliates to raise awareness within their membership of the current situation in Afghanistan and to support sympathetic organisations attempting to make positive changes for women in the country.

She also urged unions to lobby the government to "put pressure on their Afghan peers on the issue of equality.

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