Why Worry about the Taliban When the Afghan Government Legalizes Rape?

Saturday, April 04, 2009
40-year-old Afghan man and his 11-year-old wife (photo: Stepahnie Sinclair-UNICEF photo of the year)

The United States wanted to bring democracy to Afghanistan, and now they have it, including the ugly side of electoral politics. In a move to shore up his support for the upcoming election, President Hamid Karzai signed a law that legalizes rape within marriages and restores other restrictions on women that the Taliban imposed. The new Shia Family Law declares married women must submit to their husbands’ sexual advances, tacitly approves child marriage and limits the right of women to leave the home. Local observers say Karzai approved the law to win votes among Afghanistan’s minority Shia community, which makes up 15% of the population, before the presidential election in August. Apologists for the new law say that at least it raises the minimum age for girls to marry from 9 to 16.

-Noel Brinkerhoff
Law Legalizing Rape in Marriage Prompts Outcry (by Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail)
Afghan Leader Accused of Bid to 'Legalise Rape' (by Jerome Starkey, The Independent)


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