Above is a segment from Democracy Now. The transcript is available here.
The vote count has begun following the presidential elections in Afghanistan, a process that is expected to take weeks. But for Afghan women, the results are already in.
The past months have revealed increasing evidence that women’s human rights are a mere “bargaining chip” in Afghan politics, a fact that has been swept under the rug by an Obama Administration eager to find success in its Afghanistan occupation policy.
Take, for instance, the infamous Shia Personal Status Law made public in April of this year, which legalized marital rape among the Shia population, and included other women’s rights violations. Spurred by Afghan women’s human rights defenders, who risked their lives and took to the streets in protest against this law, the Obama Administration condemned this legislation and called for its review.
But the version that recently emerged maintains provisions that allow a man to deny his wife food if she does not have sex with him. This time, the Administration’s condemnations were few and far between. The date of the elections was approaching, and they feared that re-ignited protests might “disrupt” the electoral proceedings.
Despite reports of violence at polling stations, on public transportation, at police posts and more, Obama was quick to declare today’s election a success. Despite the fact that the new version of the Shia Personal Status Law restricts the right of women to vote, an Administration invested in proving their policy’s success still saw fit to stamp a seal of approval on the election.
Again and again and again, the elections in Afghanistan have been cast as a test of the Obama Administration’s policy of war escalation and occupation. The stakes are high. A new poll has revealed that a majority of people in the US do not think the cost of the war in Afghanistan is worth it. How long will it be before the Administration realizes the same—and how much damage will have been done in the meantime?