The way forward in Afghanistan & for its women
March 20, 2012
The U.S. campaign in Afghanistan faced several major setbacks last week. In the wake of the reported massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, President Hamid Karzai demanded that NATO troops pull out of rural areas and be confined to their bases by next year, a move which would seriously challenge the U.S. ability to defeat the Taliban on the battlefield. Complicating matters, the Taliban suspended peace talks, which were considered crucial to a political solution to the war. At home, the debate over the U.S. role in Afghanistan continues, but President Obama remains committed to keeping U.S. and NATO forces there until the end of 2014. In the meantime, the struggle for the rights of Afghan women continues. Earlier this month President Karzai announced his support of a new set of guidelines from a council of religious scholars that requires women to travel with male escorts and forbids the mixing of women with men in offices, markets and educational facilities. We talk about the major challenges to the U.S. war in Afghanistan with BRUCE RIEDEL, former CIA officer, and DOUGLAS OLLIVANT, a retired Army planning officer. Then, HEATHER BARR of Human Rights Watch joins us to talk about the ongoing struggles of Afghan women.