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Editorial: Trouble with the Taliban

Today's lead editorial deals with the Taliban's overreaching influence in Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai's willingness to sell the souls, bodies and minds of women in his country for small, short-term political gain.   

The result -- dozens of Afghan women protested in front of a Kabul mosque in an effort to win repeal or reform of the Shia Personal Status law, which regulates marriage, divorce and inheritance. Women would have to ask permission to leave the house except on urgent business and exercise a duty to "make herself up" or "dress up" for her husband when ordered, and not refuse sex when her husband wants it. 

The fact that this law directly contradicts the Afghan constitution, which bans any type of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan and contradicts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women, to which Afghanistan is a state party, seems meaningless.  

One would hope appropriately strong protests from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada and NATO might push Karzai in the right direction. He's asked the Ministry of Justice to review the law. Human Rights Watch has justifiable concerns over the amount of independence in the process.

Just as bad, if not worse, is a story out of the southwestern portion of the country in which a young couple was executed for the apparent "crime" of attempting to elope. The woman, Gul Pecha, 19, and the man, Abdul Aziz, 21, were accused by the militants of immoral acts and sentenced. The role of the parents in returning the couple and, possibly, reporting them to the Taliban, is not readily understandable in western culture. This, of course, is not western culture but one, like all others, that demands humanity.   

Meanwhile, the Taliban have dug deeper into Pakistan in engineering a class revolt, according to reporting in The New York Times, by exploiting the divide between wealthy landlords and their tenants.    

Such lawlessness demands pressure applied by the international community. Unless and until that happens more reports will filter through about human atrocities and exploitation.

Dawn Marie Bracely/Editorial Writer

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