Afghan executions point to widespread Taliban control

Government blamed for lax security

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“This is all a very good sign, but it will collapse and the situation will reverse if the Taliban take over the country,” Ms. Naderi said.

Afghan-led reconciliation efforts aimed at giving positions in government to Taliban leaders who renounce violence have fueled fears that the Taliban could acquire positions of authority.

The situation is complicated by a July 2011 date set by the Obama administration to begin a drawdown of U.S. troops.

While President Obama had tied the troop reduction to improvements on the ground, most Afghans interpret the date as a definite one on which the troops would begin to leave their country.

“The danger is the Afghans think there will be a precipitous withdrawal … and so the damage has already been done,” said Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar in residence at the Middle East Institute.

Ms. Naderi said the constant refrain of the start of a drawdown in July 2011 weakens the position of U.S. troops.

“The Taliban can just sit back and wait,” she said.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, this week left open the possibility that he would advise Mr. Obama not to remove troops next year.

The Taliban are not the only menace to women. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission found more than 50 percent of Afghan women are victims of domestic violence.

Traditional practices such as “baad,” which involves the exchange of girls or women between families or tribes as restitution for a crime, debt or dispute, and “honor killings” are seen by rights groups as grim evidence of the challenges they face in Afghanistan.

Ms. Naderi’s group helped Bibi Aisha, an Afghan girl whose nose and ears were chopped off by her angry husband, a Taliban fighter, because she fled frequent beatings by her in-laws.

Bibi Aisha’s uncle had killed a relative of the man and her father gave his two daughters to the victim’s family to settle the debt.

While Bibi Aisha is undergoing treatment in the U.S., Ms. Naderi worries about the teenager’s younger sister who is still in Taliban-controlled Oruzgan province.

Recalling a visit to Kabul in 1998 during which he was struck by the absence of women in the streets, Mr. Weinbaum said if the Taliban are given some form of formal authority women will retreat into the woodwork.

“The situation is not an ideal one now, but it can get a lot worse,” he said.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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