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Editorial: Clenched fists

Afghan girls and women saw improvement in their lives after fall of the Taliban’s regime but most of the achievements are limited to major cities where writ of the government is established or more than minimal. The Taliban oppressed women and girls in many ways. As a result the regime’s policy had not only negatively affected women’s lives but also the country’s pace of development which was all times low during the Taliban rule. That is passed now, though, hard to forget. However, the government and human rights defender cannot beat the drum of past mistakes from dawn to dusk in order.

Women would not see the heydays unless the human rights defenders, including media, and the relevant authorities focus on the root causes and factors. Only non-state actors are not responsible for miseries of Afghan women and girls. Concerned officials and pressure groups cannot turn face from responsibilities. Development of Afghanistan will remain a dream unless women were empowered. Participation of women in the decision-making process and state institutions—based on the population ratio—is proving an unending journey as they are frequently targeted in different forms by different groups in the country. This is the picture that is projected by the reports on women’s rights.

When most of the international bodies and government institutes in Afghanistan were busy in observing the International Human Rights Day on Saturday, local media was reporting on killing of five women in Kandahar and protest of two women from Badghis province. The first incident took place in the high-security zone of Kandahar city. They were working at Kandahar airport. They were shot dead by unknown people on Saturday morning. The killing of women near the airport speaks volumes about performance of the law enforcement agencies. It also speaks about safety of women. Will the families of victims get justice? Perhaps, yes, but it would be a tightrope walk.

Case of two women protestors from Ab Kamari district of Badghis province who came to Kabul in search of justice is enough to gauge the speed and scale of justice system. They are scaling the dust of Kabul streets for justice. They claimed during meetings with lawmakers on Friday that gunmen broke into their house and opened fire on their male family member. They alleged provincial security officials. The case maybe complicated at a glance but it is not. Such stories are hardly reported.

Observing the International Human Rights Day will do no good without concrete steps taken by the government. Therefore, the leaders should direct the law enforcement and judicial bodies to implement the laws in letter and spirit and address cases of women on war-footing. It is essential to restore public trust over the state institutions. Public cannot shake hands with the clenched fists of the government.

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