Human Rights

Security for Afghan Women Worsening

While peace talks may be seeing progress in Afghanistan, the state of women in the war-torn country is deteriorating, PBS: Wide Angle reports. Over the past two years, more than 1,900 reports of abuse have been tracked by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs—though human-rights workers stress that countless instances of violence go unreported. Part of the problem lies in the reality that Afghan women are often targeted for speaking out on behalf of women’s rights. Last year, for example, Sitara Achakzai, a Kandahar Provincial Council member, was shot and killed after speaking with the U.N. about cases of abuse. “There are numerous women who receive threatening phone calls ordering them to stop working or threatening to harm their children,” according to a U.N. report. If any headway is to be made, says documentary filmmaker Abigail Disney, women’s safety must be discussed while peace talks are on the table—yet this doesn’t seem to be happening, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently approving a bill allowing police to “enforce a wife’s sexual duties and restrict a woman’s ability to leave her home.” Activists, meanwhile, are continuing to press for improvement.