Afghan women march against warlord impunity

Several hundred women, many carrying pictures of relatives killed by drug lords or Taliban militants, held a loud but peaceful protest in Kabul Dec. 10, demanding that President Hamid Karzai purge from his government anyone connected to corruption, war crimes or the Taliban. “These women are being very brave,” said the protest leader, her face hidden by a burka. “To be a woman in Afghanistan and an activist can mean death. We want justice for our loved ones!”

Police in riot gear monitored the march as it made its way through muddy streets to the United Nations building, but did nothing to disrupt the event. The protesters, under the banner of the Social Association of Afghan Justice Seekers, charged that “the culture of impunity” has turned life in Afghanistan into a “nightmare.”

While women took the lead in the protest, some 500 men followed them in support—an unusual display in Afghan culture of men allowing women to take a leadership role. The leader, who gave her name as Lakifa, said many women are still afraid to demand an accounting of the death or disappearance of family members during the three decades of war that have torn Afghanistan. “We need to know about all of our martyrs, and the government needs to find the mass graves and the killers, not give them jobs and protect them,” she said. (LAT, Dec. 10)

See our last posts on Afghanistan and the women’s struggle.

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