Sex

Karzai and Women's Rights in Afghanistan

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The details are sketchy about a controversial new law in Afghanistan, one that apparently legalizes marital rape and was signed by President Hamid Karzai. It cover the Shiite population in the country, variously reported as making up 10 percent to 15 percent of the population. The details are sketchy because the Afghan government has not released details or the text of the law, which is hardly a comforting sign.

According to United Nations organizations that have seen it, a law backed by the Karzai government would legalize rape within marriage and would forbid women from going to the doctor or leaving their home without their husband's protection.

It also reportedly grants custody of children only to fathers or grandfathers….

"This is an area of absolute concern for the United States," [U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] told reporters. "My message is very clear. Women's rights are a central part of the foreign policy of the Obama administration."

Officials from other countries had even more trouble hiding their disappointment with a government that was meant to signal a turn away from the sexual oppression of the ousted Taliban regime….

A British cabinet minister was more explicit. "We are caught in the Catch-22 that the Afghans obviously have the right to write their own laws," Lord Malloch Brown, the foreign secretary for Africa and Asia, told the Guardian newspaper yesterday. "But there is dismay. The rights of women was one of the reasons the U.K. and many in the West threw ourselves into the struggle in Afghanistan. It matters greatly to us and our public opinion."

Full account here.

Most observers say that the condition of women in Afghanistan is greatly improved since the days when the Taliban ran the place. But most observers are also very (and rightly) troubled by a Karzai government that has done very little to improve the lot of people in general over the past several years. As in Pakistan, a lot of money and resources has been poured into sand.

Afghanistan has functioned as "the good war" in the war on terror. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban government refused to hand over Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Once we blew that mission, it was far from clear why we're still there, engaging in nation-building that seems every bit as ineffective as in Iraq. With each passing day, and each report like the above, it becomes increasingly less clear exactly what we are trying to accomplish there. Which makes Barack Obama's decision to double down there all the more troubling. We're digging into a landscape that has famously rebuffed virtually every great power that tried to reshape it without a clear mission. And the friendly government is pulling stuff like this new law? And the Taliban is resurgent? Oh, brother.

For a disturbing and haunting movie about the Taliban's treatment of women, I highly recommend 2003's Osama, which showcases the horrors of Islamic theocracy far more effectively than anything ever put out by the U.S. government. Trailer below.

NEXT: Detained by TSA

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  1. Americans should learn to MTOFB.

  2. agreed hagbard. its not much of our concern how other countries are ran, DOES IT AFFECT US, NO. then end of problem. Itis the citizens of each and every counrty to fight for thier rights, not our, we have enough battles and right loss going on in our own country.

  3. Now if you or I want to work or donate to help said counrty, then that is OUR choice. we do or do not as individuals, not as a taxpayer funded aid and war.

  4. "not as a taxpayer funded aid and war."

    Damn you FDR!

  5. The friendly government is "pulling" this precisely due to the resurgence of the Taliban. For the same reason the Communist government eventually backed off on marxism.

    Hrmmm, it's almost as if the world may not be full of people just one plane ticket and HD TV from being committed Libertarians. Shit, better bring the entire country here, to test this hypothesis.

  6. Women's rights are a central part of the foreign policy of the Obama administration.

    Irrelevant.

    Error.

    Error.

    ANALYYYYYYYYYZE!

  7. In order to fully succeed in Afghanistan, won't we have to outlaw Islam?

  8. 'Women's rights are a central part of the foreign policy of the Obama administration'

    Which is why we are outraged that this new Shiite law code in Afghanistan legalizes the sex-selection abortion of unborn female children, which is such a scourge of female children in the Third World.

    Oops, never mind.

  9. The details are sketchy about a controversial new law in Afghanistan, one that apparently legalizes marital rape and was signed by President Hamid Karzai.

    I'm going to go out of a limb and say that this law is not meant to protect consensual role playing. . . am I right?

  10. To be fair, there is nothing in the article suggesting that the new law legalizes sex-selection abortion.

  11. The rule that women cannot refuse sex to their husbands at any time or for any reason, is part of traditional Islamic law. Afghanistan's new constitution makes Sharia law the highest law in the land; no law is permitted to contradict it. Why anybody should be surprised is beyond me. In case anybody noticed, Iraq's constitution contains the same provision.

  12. The rights of women was one of the reasons the U.K. and many in the West threw ourselves into the struggle in Afghanistan.

    And here I though - The reason the Allies invaded that sovereign country was to go after Al Qaida and Osama Bin Laden, but I guess I was mistaken and that the country was invaded to bring in feminism.

  13. Which is why we are outraged that this new Shiite law code in Afghanistan legalizes the sex-selection abortion of unborn female children, which is such a scourge of female children in the Third World.

    Well if the law did legalize sex-selection abortion, and the pro-women's rights crowd didn't object, they would be sort of respecting a woman's right to choose not to have a daughter, right? Seems like a consistent position to me, don't see what you're being snarky about.

  14. This should also be a law here in Western societies, and it should also go both ways, if the person you are married to wants sex, they get it, no questions asked.

  15. This should also be a law here in Western societies, and it should also go both ways, if the person you are married to wants sex, they get it, no questions asked.

    Any kind of sex?

  16. End our sufferaging NOW!

  17. This should also be a law here in Western societies, and it should also go both ways, if the person you are married to wants sex, they get it, no questions asked.

    Any kind of sex?

    Always

  18. Any kind of sex?

    Always

    CBT? Pegging? Even (shudder!) rosebudding?

  19. CBT? Pegging? Even (shudder!) rosebudding?

    LOL, if I wasnt at work I would look these things up.

  20. 'Seems like a consistent position to me'

    Sure - consistently in favor of giving some female human beings the power of life or death over other female human beings.

  21. I advise you not to look up rosebudding. It was on this very blog that I first learned about it (posted by either SugarFree or Epi, I can't tell the difference between them) and I have regretted it ever since.

  22. Sure - consistently in favor of giving some female human beings the power of life or death over other female human beings.

    For a given value of "human being".

  23. "But there is dismay. The rights of women was one of the reasons the U.K. and many in the West threw ourselves into the struggle in Afghanistan. It matters greatly to us and our public opinion."

    Kinda makes supporting Pinochet look almost humanitarian.

  24. The rights of women was one of the reasons the U.K. and many in the West threw ourselves into the struggle in Afghanistan.

    So. Much. Wrong. With that statement.

    It sets up interference with the legitimate and sovereign government of Afghanistan.

    It drives a wedge between the US and the Afghan government and, presumably, people (I would bet there are a lot of Afghani women who would support sharia law in general and that application in particular).

    It creates a receding finish line for our involvement, and increases the likelihood of a "quagmire."

  25. posted by either SugarFree or Epi, I can't tell the difference between them

    HEY!

  26. 'the pro-women's rights crowd'

    If, like the bumper sticker says, feminism is the doctrine that women are people, then Feminists for Life is the ultimate feminist organization.

  27. HEY!

    I apologise. Episiarch doesn't like Dune, so clearly he has much better taste in books.

  28. Thin ice, Kunal. Thin ice.

  29. The rights of women was one of the reasons the U.K. and many in the West threw ourselves into the struggle in Afghanistan.

    Wars are not effective means to address human-rights issues.

    I think Britain just likes invading Afghanistan for its own sake.

    For reference, the British will also invade Sudan/Darfur on any pretext.

  30. "But there is dismay. The rights of women was one of the reasons the U.K. and many in the West threw ourselves into the struggle in Afghanistan."

    Join the Army and Fight for Feminism! Instead of Uncle Sam, we can use Uncle Samantha.

  31. FWIW, Osama is a heartbreaking movie, but still well worth seeing.

  32. Gee, I wonder where that ridiculous stereotype that feminists hate men came from?

    I wouldn't feel safe going to a bathroom at night and having a man around. Men are just too misogynistic. We all know 'normal' men rape. I don't want the thought to cross his mind when I'm in an enclosed area with my pants down. It doesn't take much to knock the lock on one of those bathroom doors off. I can do it, why can't a dude? If it was normalized it wouldn't be like anyone would notice anything unusual about a man using a woman's bathroom to recount what he was wearing or looked like. If he was in his own bathroom not around women, the thought might not cross his mind. I'm all for transgender people using their own gendered restrooms and not being harassed for it, but the transition from looking like a female/male, to a full-on passing female/male is a finite trasition that I don't believe warrants changing laws that bring nature born men (and indocrinated) around womens spaces just to serve a minority demographic during an awkward stage while transitioning. Many men also want to use urinals and I wouldnt want to walk into a bathroom and see that much dick. I would also feel uncompfortable that guys wouldnt start to peek under the stalls, look through the cracks of the stalls while washing their hands (like you can do when washing hands by use of the mirror). Doesn't this also make it easier for pedophiles to have access to girls?

    The only problem anyone has with her comment is that she compares transgendered people to pedophiles... the only offensive thing she didn't say.

    Let's not fight wars for these hate-mongers. Let them suit up and go fight overseas misogyny if they like, why should men have to die for a philosophy that dismisses them all as rapists?

  33. Sugarfreeeeeee!

    *shakes fist*

    What the fuck is going on in that poor woman's head?

  34. She's got penis on the brain.

  35. ...and increases the likelihood of a "quagmire."

  36. Hmmm. What just happened? Let's try it again.

    and increases the likelihood of a "quagmire."

    Likelihood? Applied to Afghanistan, that's like saying that at 100mph there's a likelihood of motion.

  37. SugarFree,
    Sounds like she has been reading too many Ayn Rand novels

  38. I just googled "rosebudding sex" and guess what site came up in the number 2 position following biggayhole.com...

  39. The friendly government is "pulling" this precisely due to the resurgence of the Taliban. For the same reason the Communist government eventually backed off on marxism.

    I actually kind of hope that is true because it would mean that there is a simple solution: massively crack down on the Taliban.

    This is completely fucked. I didn't think Afghanistan would embrace full scale establishment-clause-style secularism and equal rights in the near future. But I was hoping stuff like this could be avoided.

    As a stopgap measure I propose the following: any Afghan woman who comes to a US consulate or checkpoint; and claims she needs protection from her husband gets free transportation to, and asylum in, the US.

    If it turns out that some of our allies are upset because their wives went to the US and now they can't get laid, we can solve that to. Any Afghan who fights in an US-allied military force against the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or associated terrorist groups gets a month paid vacation in Nevada with a stipend for prostitution services.

  40. Score: This should also be a law here in Western societies, and it should also go both ways, if the person you are married to wants sex, they get it, no questions asked.

    Kunal: Any kind of sex?

    Score: Always

    Well now that you mention it, there's something I've always wanted to try:

    http://straponfuckers.com/tour.php?id=hoescom

    (This URL is not safe for work)

  41. No suprise that rape legalized. After shes (the little woman) has been locked up, no medical care, no education, no property or custody rights, no rights, and no fresh air...why should she ever want sex with the jail keeper? I get it , they had to legalize rape, or he'd never get any!

  42. This makes even less sense in the context of Afghanistan

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