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Afghanistan

The population of Afghanistan is estimated to be 25 million. It is a dry, mountainous country situated in South-central Asia, with Pakistan to the east, and Iran to the west.

In 1964, the Afghan Constitution was established, and with it, women's first entry into the National Assembly.

Before the Taliban came to power, 50% of students, 60% of university teachers, 70% of school teachers, 50% of civilian government workers, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women.

Today all universities are closed to women. Girls are not allowed to attend school after the age of eight. Most women are not allowed to earn money. Women are not allowed to receive medical treatment from male physicians, while most female doctors and nurses are prohibited from working.

Women are not allowed to leave their houses without being escorted by a close male relative. They are forced to wear a hot, heavy burqua, which covers them entirely, whenever they leave the home. They must paint the windows of their houses so they cannot be seen from the outside.

Women and girls throughout the country are subjected to rape, kidnapping, and forced marriage. A growing number of women and girls are made slaves through sex trafficking.

According to a report by Physicians for Human Rights, an estimated 97 % of women in Afghanistan are suffering from major depression, 86% have significant symptoms of anxiety, and nearly 25% frequently think of committing suicide.

Some 20,000 women and children internally displaced in Afghanistan are facing death due to a lack of urgently needed medicine and food.

Educated women and those working for education and welfare of Afghan women and children have been targeted by Afghan armed groups operating in Pakistan. In 1987, Meena Keshwar Kamal, the founding leader of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), was assassinated along with 2 of her family members.

The pattern of death threats, detentions, and assassinations continue against women working with refugees in Pakistan. Members of RAWA are particularly at risk of attack. RAWA's leaders continue to receive death threats from Afghan warring factions, and several of them have had to go into hiding in fear for their lives.

(main sources: The Feminist Majority Foundation and Amnesty International)

 
 
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