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Welcome to Kabul:Reconstructions. You can follow the information below, which has been gathered from a number of sources by a number of participants (click on the names at left for bios), to reconstruct your own picture of events in Kabul since this site was launched on March 8th, 2003 and, in a sense, since the reconstruction of Afghanistan began somewhere in the winter of 2001-02.

Some of this information has been provided in response to specific questions submitted by visitors like you. Please note that this section of the project is now maintained as an archive and has not been updated since 2005. Click here to ASK A QUESTION.

Mariam Ghani
Zohra Saed
Massoud Hosseini
Nassima Mustafa
Bibigol Ghani
Arian Mouj Sharifi
Soraia Ghani

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Afghan women react to the draft constitution (AFP)
Agence France Presse November 12, 2003 Afghan women call for equality two years after fall of Taliban By WAHEEDULLAH MASSOUD

Two years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghan women are calling for the country's new constitution to enshrine equal rights and greater participation in political life, denied to them under the old regime.

The draft constitution released last week says all Afghans are equal but makes no explicit reference to equality of the sexes, women's rights activists told reporters this week.

"Learning from past constitutions and the discrimination women have suffered in the past two decades of war, we want the explicit term 'women and men are equal' rather than the broader term 'all Afghans have equal rights and duties before the law' which can be easily misinterpreted," said Hangama Noori of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

A working group comprised of women lawyers and rights activists has drawn up a list of recommended changes to the draft constitution to enshrine the rights of women, State Minister for Women's Affairs Mahbuba Hoquqmal said.

Among their recommendations are explicit guarantees of equal rights and measures to eliminate discrimination and violence against women.

"Marriage must take place freely and with the agreement of both parties," it said. Amnesty International last month said girls as young as eight were being married off to adult males.

The working group has also called for each province to elect two women representatives to the lower house of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, rather than one as provided in the draft.

Other recommendations include prohibiting "slavery and slave-like" practices.

Grave injustices were perpetrated against women under the Taliban which the working group recommendations were intended to rectify, the group said. The abuses of women allowed under the Taliban were "violations perpetrated even against Islam itself". It is vital now that women were afforded the "utmost respect and rights protection," the group said in its list of proposals, signed by Hoquqmal and Minister for Women's Affairs Habiba Surabi.

Under the Taliban, women and girls were denied education and effectively barred from the workplace and public life, while forced to wear the shroud-like all-enveloping burqa when appearing in public.

"We have presented our recommendations to President Hamid Karzai, the Constitutional Commission and United Nations special envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi," Hoquqmal said.

"Women representatives in loya jirga will also raise the issue to make sure it gets mentioned in the constitution," she said.

A special loya jirga (grand assembly) of 500 delegates will gather from December 10 to debate and approve the draft constitution, paving the way for a presidential election scheduled for June 2004.

Amnesty last month said that two years after the toppling of the Taliban, the international community had failed in its promises to deliver freedom and equality.

"Nearly two years on, discrimination, violence and insecurity remain rife, despite promises by world leaders, including President Bush and US Secretary of State Colin Powell, that the war in Afghanistan would bring liberation for women," the rights watchdog said in a report titled "Justice denied to women."

"Unfortunately Afghan women still face a pattern of rape, domestic violence, forced marriage and the routine denial of justice. Violence against women is widespread in most regions, especially outside Kabul."
Posted By: mariam   November 13th 2003, 2003 8:18 PM

Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.

www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.