Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Women and the Afghan elections

I'm on this group's listserve, having met a number of their
representatives at an Islamic street fair in New York.
For a further look at the heinous treatment of women that continues,
and will keep on keeping on after the election, no matter who wins,
see our AP story: Women activists condemn Afghan marriage law

Wonderful Supporters of WAW [Women for Afghan Women],

Writing this quickly because internet keeps failing. Security is
really bad in Kabul. Yesterday there were 2 suicide bombings and
6 rockets attacks. Today 5 suicide bombers were holding up a bank in
the city. They were killed along with 4 police men. And I have
been hearing the sounds of rockets all day today but the media is
not allowed to report on any violence until after the elections.

I have been under a lot of stress lately. I have over 100 staff
members and 112 people in our shelters to keep safe.

For the past two weeks, our staff have stayed in the office and we
have not been doing home visits to clients. Starting today our
centers are closed, and staff has been asked to stay at home. I've
asked our drivers to take the cars home with them so if there are
any emergencies, they can get to the shelter fast.

We currently have 68 women and 12 children in the Kabul shelter and
32 women and 4 children in the Mazar shelter. Last night the police
called us and referred 2 new cases to us.

We have tried to ensure the participation of women in the elections.
We have helped many women (our clients who are living at home
rather than in our shelters) get registered to vote. I have also
encouraged our staff to vote on election day.

We cannot take the women from the shelter to vote on election day.
It will simply be too dangerous. Also I don't want people in the
neighborhood to find out that a lot of women are living in one

I will try and send another update soon. Thank you all for caring
about this beleaguered country and it's women and girls. Please
pray for us during these terrifying days.

Manizha Naderi
Executive Director, Women for Afghan Women