Blow for women’s rights in Afghanistan

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The parliament failed to pass a law yesterday banning violence against women, a severe blow to progress made in women’s rights since the Islamist Taliban was toppled more than a decade ago.

President Hamid Karzai approved the law by decree in 2009 but disagreement between conservative and secular members of the assembly delayed debate and endorsement. Religious members objected to keeping the legal age for women to marry at 16, shelters for domestic abuse victims and the halving of the number of wives permitted to two.

“Today, parliamentarians who oppose women’s development, women’s rights and the success of women...made their voices loud and clear,” said Fawzia Koofi, head of the parliament’s women’s commission.