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Editorial: Women’s plight

Fifteen years after the collapse of the Taliban regime, gender equality remains a distant dream in Afghanistan. Despite claims of progress, violence against women is still at boiling point.

Lobbying for women’s right has been an uphill battled in the country. After long-years and immense pressure from Afghan women’s rights activists, and the strong support of government on women’s right, few improvements have materialized. Despite that widespread abuse and violence against women were reported in the last years. And few men were punished in regards with violence against women.

Helmand Women’s Affairs Directorate has said that women are concerned about a sharp increase in violence against women in the province.

Growing insecurity, unwanted traditions and lack of public awareness on women’s rights are core reasons behind violence. Alone in Helmand, 20 cases of violence against women were registered last month, a big number. Women in Helmand are under enormous violence. They are in ruin situation.

Bad dadan—where girls and women are given to opposite party to settle a dispute between families, is also included in registered cases of violence which is a matter of concern.

Women have a right to life free form violence. The government should leave no stone unturned to provide protection and legal support to the women. Many women accept domestic violence because they see no alternative. They are unable to escape their circumstance. Even some are turning to drastic measures like self-immolation and other deadly steps, in a bid to put a full stop to their suffering.

In December, Niloofar Rahmani, the first female airplane pilot applied for asylum in the United States due to insecurity in her motherland. She became a symbol of what women could accomplish in the post-Taliban era. The 25-year-old Afghan air force pilot said that her life would be in danger if she returns home. However, it is a great lose to a largest extent. It is almost impossible to fill the vacuum in nearest time.

Urgent action to maintain security and fight all form of violence, including child marriage, and other domestic violence is the need of the hour. Domestic violence harms individual women and their families and also takes an economic toll on society.

Without doubt, some steps have been taken in a bid to protect women from violence and abuse, but it is not sufficient. At somehow these efforts helped Afghan women at largest extent. But still more work must be done until Afghanistan declare a state free of violence against women.

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