Monday, January 24, 2005

From Australia's Sunday Herald:

Afghan women still in chains under Karzai

Kabul’s central jail holds female prisoners whose only ‘crime’ is their refusal to be second-class citizens.

Sharifa Daadekhoda ... was 12 years old when she was forced to marry a 30-year-old man. He immediately began prostituting her, but Sharifa was too ashamed to tell her family and he would beat her if she complained.

After three years she gained enough confidence to run away but was caught 15 minutes from her parent’s house by the Taliban. As a woman travelling on her own, unaccompanied by a male family member, she was committing a crime.

When the Taliban realised she was also fleeing her husband she was instantly imprisoned. She was released after six months but forced to return to her husband.

A year later she fled and was caught again, receiving a longer sentence – only this time her captors had been installed by the American-led coalition. In President Hamid Karzai’s Afghanistan, women are still imprisoned for running away from home....

“When the Americans came I thought it would be better, but nothing has changed,” says Sharifa, with a shy smile.

...“The Taliban were awful but it is also just our way. In the villages a woman will be stoned to death if it is thought she is friendly with a man – this has been happening with or without the Taliban,” says Sharifa’s cellmate, 24-year-old Nouria.

She also ran away from an abusive husband, fleeing to a friend’s house. Rumours started circulating that she was behaving “inappropriately” with her friend’s small son and she was nearly lynched. Being taken to prison probably saved her life....


"I’m thinking about putting up a reward on my Web page for any liberal who will mention ... Afghanistan.... They’ve had elections and women vote, and they didn’t vote for some crazy, lunatic mullahs. So that’s a pretty good year."

--Ann "See No Evil" Coulter, NewsMax, 1/5/05

(Herald link via Democratic Underground.)

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