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What about the women?

President Obama wings into Afghanistan, says all the "right" words to the troops - most of which is not accurate, like, how well things are going - and is out the country in a flash. One of the reasons for being in Afghanistan, apart from routing out terrorists, is said to be to help the womenfolk. And so the question to be asked is whether the women are being "helped" which they wouldn't be if the Taliban still ruled.

The Daily Beast reports

"The Taliban has deep roots in this south-central Pashtun province, often described as "Afghanistan's Appalachia" by the Americans. Mullah Omar was born here, and many Zabulis have family connections with the insurgency. For most women in Zabul, Pashtunwali—or customary law—is as effective in imprisoning them in their homes as the Taliban were.

Few, if any, of the girls and women in Zabul are able to take advantage of the freedoms nominally guaranteed by the Afghan constitution. In the outlying districts, women have almost no rights, are never seen in the streets, and have little access to medical care. The former provincial minister of women's affairs was a man, and the new minister, a woman named Rajiba, lives in daily danger. At a meeting of prominent Zabul women, she casually mentioned that her office needed a higher fence and concertina wire. Anything to do with women is invariably an insurgent target.

The Afghan government ranks the province 33rd out of 34 according to various economic and social indicators. Governor Naseri, who has a doctorate, told me that perhaps 300 people in the province are truly literate—about 0.1 percent of the population."

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