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Afghanistan Vows to Reduce Violence Against Women

by AFP
Aref Karimi—AFP

Aref Karimi—AFP

Deputy attorney general says violence against women growing worse in war-torn state.

Afghan ministries on Thursday signed an agreement to eliminate violence against women, a largely symbolic effort in a country that foreign observers still consider one of the worst in the world to be female.

The Afghan attorney general’s office recorded more than 3,700 cases of violence against women in the first eight months of 2016, with 5,000 cases recorded in the whole of 2015. “We are seeking ways to cooperate, and for an effective and lawful fight against the existence of violence against women in the country,” attorney general Farid Hamidi said at the signing ceremony between his office and four government ministries at the presidential palace in Kabul. He said the Afghan government was determined to fight against corruption and combat violence against women in the country.

The campaign was launched on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. “Unfortunately, violence against women is on the rise,” Maleha Hassan, deputy attorney general, told reporters in Kabul. “The situation is getting worse,” she said, calling it “shocking and disappointing.”

Gender equality in Afghanistan has improved somewhat since a U.S.-led coalition toppled the hardline Taliban regime in 2001. Women—particularly from cities—have taken up professional jobs and hold more than a quarter of all seats in parliament.

President Ashraf Ghani has also pledged to place women’s rights at the top of his agenda, but major challenges remain as they continue to suffer oppression and abuse, including forced marriages and child marriages. In March 2015, a 27-year-old woman known as Farkhunda was beaten to death in Kabul after being falsely accused of blasphemy, a case that became a symbol of the endemic violence that women still face.

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