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Supporting Afghan women, with or without troops

July 16th, 2013
05:16 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Even without troops in Afghanistan, the international community can and should support women’s rights, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“International oversight doesn’t require soldiers on the ground,” Heather Barr, who has spent six years in Kabul, said. “As long as the international community is paying for President Karzai’s army and President Karzai’s police force, the international community has leverage.”

All they need to do, she continued, is focus that leverage on women’s rights, something she claims they have not done so far.

“There’s a very strong feeling in Kabul these days,” Barr said, “that the U.S. has stopped caring about what Afghanistan looks like in 2015 or 2020.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that all gains made by women in the past decade have been because of the international community, Barr explained.

“They happened because of Afghan women, and men who support them,” she told Amanpour. “International intervention just provided some space and some financial resources to support that.”

The critical role for the United States, she went on, is not to let its frustrations with the Afghan government or President Karzai get in the way of protecting women.

“There’s a rollback on women’s rights in Afghanistan that’s starting now,” Barr said. “It’s not starting after the troops have gone at the end of 2014.”


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. ashok

    No better way to secure Afghanistan than to ensure that its women have access to secular, modern education, can participate in the work force and bring up a healthier generation of children. To a greater or lesser extent, that is a challenge so many Muslim countries still face. The outside world can and should help, but there is only so much it can do.

    July 17, 2013 at 7:46 am | Reply
  2. Ed Patriot

    Lady, why you so determined to help Arabs whrn anyone can see these people are beyond help. America needs the money to spend on her own citizens and their needs..try some investigative reporting instead of pushing obama;s and CNN;s liberal losing agenda.

    July 17, 2013 at 9:01 am | Reply
    • Sara

      Afghans aren't Arabs.

      July 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  3. Moh

    What you need to understand is that what you call progress with regards to Afghan women is actually retrogress to them. All you ever try to do is to make everyone behave and live like you. I agree Afghan women need education but real education, and not your type of education. Carry on using war on terror to steal tax payers money but please LEAVE THE ARABS AND THE WORLD ALONE!!!

    July 17, 2013 at 10:51 am | Reply
  4. jogee

    You have killed Afghan woman and children with your troops in an illegal aggression on an unprovoked atrocity in Afghanistan. The question you should ask what the hell are your American troops doing raping and killing innocent men woman and children.Not forgetting Aafia Siddiqui who is languishing in your American jail being subjected to torture and rape by your American soldiers.I suppose you will not print this would you.cowards.

    July 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Reply
  5. Chukwuemeka

    The meddlesomeness of the United States has made Afghans less safe and secured than they were 10 years ago. I hope the Americans stay away from Syria and Egypt before they turn into disaster regions.
    For now the Afghan women can only hope their men and elders show mercy towards them after foreign troops withdraw completely.

    July 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply
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