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Afghan women fear the return of the Taliban

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Summary of story from Reuters, October 3, 2011

A majority of Afghan women fear the return of a Taliban-style government according to a survey released yesterday.

The findings of an ActionAid survey of 1000 women conducted between June and August 2011 reveal that 72 per cent believed that their lives had improved since the Taliban lost power and 66 per cent felt safer

Yet according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Afghanistan sill has a high maternal mortality rate, with 1,400 deaths for every 100,000 women and one of the highest levels of gender inequality in the world.

ActionAid, a London-based NGO, said the government was excluding women from the process of reconciliation and this could result in further instability in Afghanistan.

Belinda Calaguas, ActionAid Director of Policy said: “women are being frozen out of the process and are worried that their rights are being traded away for peace.”

An Oxfam report released on Monday calls for Afghan women to have better access to education, health and justice as well as more involvement in the peace process (see WVoN story).

It also highlighted the need for more women to be recruited into the Afghan police as a way to encourage victims of abuse to engage with law enforcement.

Out of 142,000 police officers, only 1,300 are women.

President Hamid Karzai wants to have 5000 Afghan policewomen ready for duty when the NATO-led coalition troops leave.

WVoN comment – You can watch a video of the findings here and read more about the report here.

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