March 23, 2015 |
Many Afghan women worry their recent gains will be lost after the last U.S. troops leave. But the story of Suraya Pakzad - a courageous Afghan woman with links to Philadelphia and Scranton - shows how ordinary Americans can help Afghan women preserve their rights. Pakzad runs five shelters for Afghan women who flee domestic violence or forced marriages. (I have visited her first shelter, in Herat, a large city in western Afghanistan.) The shelters are mainly financed with funding from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
December 1, 2014 |
At a time when most foreign news is unremittingly grim, I have a good-news story to tell - about the first women-only restaurant in western Afghanistan, called the Scranton Restaurant. That name reflects the fact that the restaurant is a joint project of a noted woman activist in Herat, Afghanistan, and her counterparts in Scranton, Pa., who raised $20,000 to get the restaurant started. The Scranton Restaurant is a rare place where Afghan women, young and old, can socialize outside their homes in safety.
April 14, 2014 |
What do Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton agree on? They, like many other prominent Americans, talk effusively about helping Afghan women. The fate of Afghan women is also a subject that grabs the attention of Americans who have otherwise lost interest in that country. When Afghans voted last week, much of the U.S. media coverage focused on lines of burka-clad female voters at the polls. So let's assume (and it's far from certain) that this interest in Afghan women is genuine and will outlast the U.S. troop exit at the end of 2014.
April 11, 2014 |
When Afghans went to the polls last week to elect a new president, Afghan social media enthusiasts sent out some incredible photos of women voters. The long, snaking lines of women in burkas, holding up sheets of plastic for protection from freezing rain, were a stunning repudiation of Taliban misogyny and violence. My favorite photo, tweeted by an Afghan journalist named Shafi Sharifi, showed an elderly, black-draped lady in a wheelchair, holding up a forefinger stained with indelible ink, saying: "I voted because women can't expect things to improve if they don't vote.
November 25, 2013 |
At a recent Georgetown University symposium, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura Bush, and John Kerry all urged Americans not to abandon Afghan women after U.S. troops exit next year. Their pleas were emotional. Bush, who, together with Clinton, has taken up the cause of Afghan women, said she feared that "once the troops leave, American eyes will move away. I want the people of Afghanistan to know the people of America are with them. " Secretary of State Kerry recalled the anxiety he has heard from Afghan women who have "legitimate concerns that the gains of the past decade could be lost.
February 28, 2013 |
Last week, Georgetown University inaugurated a new Institute for Women, Peace, and Security to research the role of women in mitigating global conflicts. The institute was first announced by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who made promotion of women's rights a signature part of her tenure. Clinton funded aid programs to train women leaders in developing countries for government, civil society, and peace negotiations. Ambassador Melanne Verveer, who will head the Georgetown institute - and ran Clinton's office for Global Women's Issues - clearly hopes to build on that legacy in her new role.
December 24, 2012 |
As the year draws to a close, I want to pay tribute to a few brave men and women who have been fighting in 2012 for dignity, justice, and peace in some of the world's most troubled countries. My list is limited by space considerations. So I've chosen to focus on people I've been privileged to meet or whom I've learned about from contacts in their countries. What distinguishes them is that each has chosen to struggle, at great risk, for values that most of us take for granted - though their odds of success are small.
December 16, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week: House Ozone layer depletion. Voting 229-182, the House on Wednesday failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill (HR 6190) allowing the sell-off of inventories of a certain asthma inhaler that has been banned from sale since Dec. 31, 2011, because its chlorofluorocarbon emissions damage the ozone layer. The product is Primatene Mist, a "CFC epinephrine" inhaler manufactured by Armstrong Pharmaceuticals.
September 17, 2012 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - In a disastrous day for the NATO force in Afghanistan, four American troops were gunned down Sunday by Afghan police, a U.S. airstrike killed eight Afghan women foraging for fuel on a rural hillside, and military officials disclosed that a Taliban strike on a southern base had destroyed more than $150 million worth of planes and equipment - in money terms, by far the costliest single insurgent attack in 11 years of warfare....
March 27, 2012
Sacrificing rights of women Trudy Rubin asks if the United States is committed to the rights of Afghan women, and then largely answers it in the negative ("Will gains of Afghan women be sacrificed?" Sunday). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may say that it is "absolutely critical" that we protect the rights of women, but given that our secret talks with the Taliban have frozen women negotiators out, and that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has renounced constitutional protections for women and endorsed wife-beating, the handwriting is on the wall.