By Mick Krever and Juliet Fuisz, CNN
Afghan politicians are already preparing themselves for a less-progressive country once international forces pull out, a female Afghan parliamentarian told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“They are preparing themselves for a new situation, post-2014,” Fawzia Koofi said from Kabul, “and perhaps to welcome Taliban and their views in terms of women’s rights in Afghanistan.”
Koofi knows the struggles of Afghan women firsthand. When she was just a newborn baby, her parents left her out in the baking sun, torn about whether to keep a girl – thankfully, they had a change of heart.
Her experience, in which women are treated as something less than men, is far from rare in Afghanistan.
Take the example of Sahar Gul, forced at the age of 12 to marry an older man. She ended up in the hospital, close to death, after police found her in the cellar of her husband’s home – starved and tortured, her fingernails torn out.
Three members of her husband’s family were convicted of attempted murder, but last week a supreme court judge released them from jail only a year into their 10-year sentence.
An Afghan presidential decree on women’s rights was not approved, and made permanent, by parliament, Koofi told Amanpour, leaving the rights of women in limbo.
“There were some extreme figures in the parliament” who blocked the law, Koofi said. “That is an indication of how women’s rights are in decline.”
Nor does the Afghan parliamentarian put any credence behind the argument that this is an issue only for Afghans, and not for the international community, which is set to pull out of Afghanistan post-2014.
“I think if it was a domestic politics,” Koofi asked, “then why international community invested blood and treasure six or seven years ago?”
When Koofi last spoke with AManpour, in October, she indicated that she might run to be president of Afghanistan, saying, “One has to take all the risks and go for it.”
Does she still hope someday to replace Hamid Karzai?
“I’m still thinking,” Koofi said, “because if I don’t, then automatically we give it the atmosphere for those who would like to take Afghanistan back to where we have to start from scratch.”