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Rampant sexual harassment remains biggest challenge for Afghan female journalists

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(Last Updated On: April 14, 2016)

Afghan-women

The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) in its recent survey said that more than 70 percent of Afghan women journalists are under sexual harassment during their jobs.

The survey carried out in seven provinces of Afghanistan in Central, South, East and North zones from 100 Afghan women journalists.

“Generally, 69 percent of the participants in the survey said that they had been sexually harassed during their jobs and 59 percent of them sexually harassed by their colleagues,” Najibullah, head of AJSC said.

According to AJSC findings, most of the families in south and eastern zones of Afghanistan prevent their daughters to work in media outlets.

More and more women are entering journalism, a profession long reserved for men. Some have chosen to focus on investigative reporting, covering human rights violations, corruption or other subjects that are off-limits in their society. Like their male colleagues, they are the targets of threats, intimidation, physical violence and even murder because of their reporting.

But because they are women, the harassment often takes specific, gender-based forms, including sexual smears, violence of a sexual nature and threats against their families. The very fact of being a woman journalist is regarded in some societies as a “violation of social norms” and may lead to reprisals.

For women journalists, it is also difficult to have access to accurate resources and information and most of the time government officials, including the local people, deny trust to the woman journalists and do not provide any information.

Religious leaders in the mosques are another group women journalists need to have access to. These leaders do not trust women journalists and refuse to provide any information.

In Afghanistan’s male-dominated society, women journalists are forced to confront cultural taboos on a daily basis, usually starting at home. Rigid inequality between men and women is widely assumed and reinforced. In many places, a woman’s presence outside the home is considered inappropriate. In this context, it comes as no surprise that most families refuse to allow female relatives to work in the media. The security situation in the country has added another set of restrictions on what women can and cannot do.

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14 killed, including five children, in Daikundi roadside explosion

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

At least 14 people were killed on Tuesday morning when the vehicle they were traveling in hit a roadside bomb. 

The explosion happened in Kariz village in Kajran District, the Ministry of Interior confirmed. 

The incident happened at about 9am. Seventeen civilians had been in the vehicle at the time of the explosion. 

Those killed include seven women, five children and two men, officials confirmed. Three others were wounded.

A sharp rise in violence has been detected around the country in the past two months, with a marked increase in the use of IEDs by the Taliban – which largely affects civilians as they are planted along public roads. 

Afghan security forces have however been detecting and defusing hundreds of these explosive devices around the country each week – putting their own lives at risk to do so.

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Time to move past ‘conspiracy theories’, work together: Abdullah

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

Afghanistan’s chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation addressed an event at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Tuesday and said “peace is on the horizon” but that everyone needs to move beyond conspiracy theories, and “start looking at the region as one region.”

Everyone needs to draw on lessons learned and look at where the region could have been if the situation had been different, he said. 

Abdullah stated he cannot emphasize enough the importance of current peace efforts which will benefit the entire region. 

He told the delegates attending the event his job as the chairman of the HCNR is to help build consensus and promote reconciliation in order to seek a political settlement. 

Again he said Afghanistan is very different to what it was in 2001 and is inclusive and respects the rights of people.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to pay a high price because of terrorism, he said adding that there are groups working as spoilers of the peace process. 

He also stated that during his meeting with Pakistan’s national assembly on Monday night, he noticed the widespread interest in Pakistan to reach a peace settlement in Afghanistan. 

He said Afghanistan is grateful for the steps Pakistan has taken to date around the peace efforts and thanked Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees. 

Prior to Abdullah’s speech, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said: “We do not want to meddle in your [Afghanistan’s] internal affairs. We respect your sovereignty, your independence and your territorial integrity”. 

He said there had been “a paradigm shift”  and Pakistan wants to be friends, not masters. 

He also assured Kabul of Pakistan’s “complete support”.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will visit Pakistan soon. 

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Trump was ‘absolutely wrong’ to negotiate with Taliban: McMaster

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

The Trump administration has been “absolutely wrong” in its negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, former US national security adviser HR McMaster said Monday night.

Appearing on CNN International’s Amanpour show, McMaster was asked by host Christiane Amanpour about the White House’s talks with the Taliban as the administration works towards a complete troop withdrawal by April next year.

She asked whether McMaster believes “to fulfill a promise to pull all American forces from overseas that cozying up to the Taliban is a national security sensible thing for the United States to do right now.”

“I think that the Trump administration policy has been absolutely wrong since the negotiations began with the Taliban,” McMaster replied.

“What I think is paradoxical about this, regrettable about it, is the Trump administration has replicated almost precisely the fundamental flaws in the Obama administration approach to Afghanistan,” he said, “and that is this flawed assumption, this belief, that there’s this bold line between the Taliban and al-Qaeda.”

There is a tendency, he said, toward “strategic narcissism — defining the world as we would like it to be and then assuming what we do is decisive to the outcome, and in this case, creating the enemy we would prefer.”

McMaster said what worries him is what “power-sharing with the Taliban” looks like? 

“Is that mass executions in the soccer stadium every other Saturday? Is that every other girls’ school bulldozed?” he said. “So I’m very concerned that this negotiation process made too many concessions.”

“Forcing the Afghan government to release 5,000 of the most heinous people on earth who could form the backbone of a rejuvenated terrorist infrastructure as well as cutting a deal,” saying simply “just don’t plot against the United States,” he said.

He said there are brave Afghans fighting daily to preserve the freedoms that they have achieved since the end of the Taliban regime in 2001, implying Trump’s policy was going against everything the Afghan nation has been fighting for.

“About 30 Afghan soldiers and police give their lives every day” to protect the Afghan population against “these terrorists who commit mass murder of innocent people as their principle tactic in a war against all humanity.”

He said the Trump administration’s policy towards the Taliban “is a disaster” and “it’s something I hope can be reversed.”

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