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October 06, 2004

The "Afghan Miracle"

Dick Cheney extolled our policy in Afghanistan, but the reality is that women are still oppressed and even beaten for asserting equal rights.

Nicholas Kristof tells this story of one woman jailed in Kabul:

I did meet Ellaha, a bold 19-year-old prisoner. . . the patriarchs had decided that she would marry her cousin. "I didn't agree to marry him," she told me through an interpreter.

"When it was almost time for me to go to Canada, and I was asking about flights," she added, "they tied me up and locked me in a room. It was in my uncle's house. My father said, 'O.K., beat her.' I'd never been beaten like that in all my life. My uncle and cousins were all beating me. ... They broke my head, and I was bleeding."

Ms. Ellaha's younger sister, who had been pledged to another cousin, was facing the same treatment. After a week of being tied up, the two sisters agreed to marry their cousins.

"So we went home," Ms. Ellaha added, "and escaped."

The two sisters moved into a cheap guesthouse as they prepared to flee Afghanistan. But their family learned where they were hiding, and the police came to arrest them.

Bush rightly talks about the oppression of the Kurds under Saddam Hussein, but how can he talk about freedom in Afghanistan if half the population there is still not free?

Posted by Nathan at October 6, 2004 07:21 AM