Violent crime against women in Afghanistan hit record levels and became increasingly brutal in 2013, the head of its human rights commission said yesterday -- a sign that hard won rights are being rolled back as foreign troops prepare to withdraw -- the Reuters website reports today (January 5, 2014).
Restoring fundamental women's rights after the Taliban were ousted by a U.S.-led coalition of troops in 2001 was cited as one of the main objectives of the war. Under the Taliban, women were forced to wear the head-to-toe covering burqa and barred from leaving their homes without being escorted by a male relative. Also, schools for girls were shut down.
Sima Samar -- chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) -- told Reuters that the brutality of attacks on women had greatly intensified. "The brutality of the cases is really bad. Cutting the nose, lips, and ears. Committing public rape," she said. "Mass rape... It's against dignity, against humanity."
She attributed the increase in crime to a culture of impunity and the imminent departure of international troops and aid workers, leaving women more exposed to attack.