06.20.136:46 PM ET

Karzai to Afghan Women: Give Up

President reportedly tells female activists to abandon a push for a law that would prohibit forced marriage and rape because it is ‘against Islam.’

Even a decade after the fall of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan are still not receiving the freedoms they deserve. Now some parliamentarians are trying pass into law a 2009 decree by President Hamid Karzai that outlaws certain types of gender-based violence—including child and forced marriage and rape. But many women in the country believe that even if the measures are ratified by Parliament—which is looking increasingly unlikely, due to strong fundamentalist opposition—its gains could be short-lived. Earlier this year, in May, an Afghan Parliament speaker stopped a debate discussing the legislation because criticism of the it was so extreme. According to a Human Rights Watch worker, the president himself told a group of female activists last month that he’d done all he could for them, and they should stop campaigning for the law, because it is “against Islam,” according to The Guardian.