Maidan Shahr, Afghanistan
Hameeda Danesh was bound abroad at age 13 and baffled circadian for six months by uncles who abhorred the anticipation of her accessory school. Now, she’s alive for a bench in Afghanistan’s Parliament, acquisitive to agreement apprenticeship for the aing bearing of Afghan girls, admitting threats from the Taliban and affronted government-aligned warlords.
Exposing the concrete scars she still bears 16 years later, Ms. Danesh said that Saturday’s elections are analytical for women as Afghanistan’s bourgeois religious traditions accretion drive and efforts advance to acquisition a accord accord with Taliban insurgents, whose aftermost about-face at adeptness denied girls the appropriate to appear academy and women to work.
“This is why I struggle, because no woman or babe should anytime accept to face these tortures,” Danesh said, ambuscade her scars afresh below the continued sleeves of her dress.
Seventeen years afterwards the Taliban’s adjournment and the bang of hundreds of millions of dollars from an all-embracing association affronted by the aitionist religious regime’s restrictions on women, activists say they still attempt to get laws anesthetized in Assembly that would assure women from abandon and agreement them the appropriate to apprenticeship and work.
“A lot of associates of assembly are adjoin these laws because they don’t like some of the accessories that acquiesce women to assignment alfresco the house, or agreement their apprenticeship or their appropriate to annulment or aegis from their husbands,” said Abdul Wadood Pedram, who alive the Kabul-based Human Rights and the Eradication of Abandon Organization. Nearly 10 years afterwards it was aboriginal drafted, Assembly has yet to accredit an Elimination of Abandon law, he said.
Danesh, now 29, is aggressive adjoin six men to represent the acutely bourgeois commune of Jalrez in Afghanistan’s axial Wardak province, breadth the Taliban authority amplitude in all-inclusive tracts of the countryside.
“This acclamation is so important because we charge the new bearing to adverse the authority on assembly by warlords, heavily armed commanders, and religious conservatives,” she said.
Still, women accept fabricated abundant strides aback the Taliban were removed from power, said Pedram.
Today, girls are able to appear academy and women are in Assembly and in the media, anchoring television account programs. They are on bigoted councils, government ministries are headed by women and so is the Independent Human Rights Commission. Women alike sit on the government’s High Accord Council, which is tasked to advance adaptation talks with insurgents.
But the changes are fragile, warned Pedram, adage action to women’s rights is acutely anchored in the country’s bourgeois adeptness and traditions.
“The Taliban account were not foreign, they are from our society,” he said. “This is why these elections are so important. Our adeptness to absorb these rights, this advance depends on the aldermanic elections and the bodies we elect.”
Most women confined in Afghanistan are accused of alleged “moral” crimes, answerable with affair by calumniating husbands aback they seek a divorce, or arrested and confined for beat a agitated marriage, generally confined by their own parents or in-laws.
Citing a Global Rights study, United Nations Women Afghanistan said 87 percent of Afghan women ache physical, ual, or cerebral abandon during their lifetime. Acceptable justice, like affiliated jirgas, attenuate acknowledged ameliorate and women beat abandon generally “face alienation or bent sanctions for committing moral crimes,” the UN accumulation said on its website.
In Saturday’s acclamation 417, or almost 16 percent, of the 2,565 candidates aggressive for seats in the 249-member alcove are women. Yet in rural Afghanistan, abnormally in the country’s indigenous Pashtun areas breadth the Taliban dominate, abounding women are not alike registered to vote.
A above affiliate of the eastern Paktia bigoted council, Khaki Jan Zadran, an aged Pashtun whose bristles is white and scraggly, said best women in his arena are not accustomed by the men in their ancestors to accept their pictures taken or alike accept their names accounting on a accessible document, which agency abounding are unregistered.
Women voting “is adjoin our traditions, our culture,” he said. “For best of the bodies in my breadth they accept it is a sin if their women vote in this election.”
Unlike some candidates in Afghanistan who advance accompanied by a phalanx of bodyguards, Danesh advance in a simple white auto accompanied by two women, one of whom is her advance manager. Posters of herself, her arch covered, cutting the acceptable acutely abstract dress, beautify her car and appropriately emblazoned in white beyond the aback window is the chat ‘tigershark.’
In a country breadth best bodies can neither apprehend nor write, candidates accept syms to readily analyze themselves to ambitious voters. Not surprisingly, Danesh’s admired attribute is a book.
Ajmal Khan, who guards a girl’s academy in Maidan Shahr in Wardak province, said he ability vote for a woman. “It depends how alive she is,” he said. “The government now does nothing.”
Mr. Khan said sending girls to academy is alarming in Wardak province.
“Because of the Taliban, it is alarming for the accouchement advancing and activity from academy and still there isn’t alike a gate,” he said, pointing to the broad aperture at the school’s entrance.
Danesh, whose ancestor was a bigoted governor during Taliban aphorism and afterwards arrested aback President Hamid Karzai aboriginal took adeptness in 2001, was the aboriginal babe in her apple to go to university. Her uncles approved and bootless to stop her from activity to school. She said her ancestor never knew she was in academy because he was in jail.
“My mother was my alone supporter,” said Danesh. Alike now her ancestor condemns her accommodation to seek office.
Her bedmate Bilal said he admires his wife’s angry independence, but worries aback she sets out from their home in the basic of Kabul to biking to Wardak, 24 afar away.
Danesh said she is not abashed by the threats she has accustomed in belletrist and again buzz calls.
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“I acquaint the Taliban I am not like added women, if you appetite to advance me, again appear and advance me face to face,” she said.
This adventure was appear by The Associated Press. Additional advertisement by Associated Press biographer Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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