The Times reports that two more British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, bringing the death toll in the last nine days to nine, The Ministry of Defence said that the two soldiers were killed yesterday in separate incidents in Helmand Province. This means that a total of 178 British servicemen and women have now been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.
Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Richardson, a spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: "These fine British soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice and their memory will live with us forever. We mourn their loss and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends at this very sad time. "We know that their deaths were not in vain.”
Or are they?
Today’s Independent report that an Afghan law which legalised rape between husband and wife has been sent back to parliament with a new clause letting husbands starve their wives if they refuse to have sex.
According to civil society groups, the law, which regulates the personal affairs of Afghanistan's Shia community, also includes clauses which allow rapists to marry their victims as a way of absolving their crime and it tacitly approves child marriage. The law sparked demonstrations in Kabul where hundreds of Shia women took to the streets in protest. They were attacked by mobs of angry men who launched counter demonstrations outside the capital's largest Shia madrassa.
The law is due to be ratified by parliament, which first passed the legislation in March with hardly any debate. Critics claim that Mr Karzai signed the law to appease Shia leaders, ahead of presidential polls on 20 August.
Women's rights activist Wazhma Frough, who was involved in the review, said that conservative religious leaders had pressured the Justice Ministry to keep many of the most controversial clauses."There have been a few little changes, but they are not enough," she said. "For example, if the wife doesn't accept her husband's sexual requirements then he can deny her food."
Violence against women is already endemic," said Razia Jan, who is building a women's community centre in Afghanistan's Shia heartland, Bamiyan. "Men pay thousands of dollars for young girls and they are treated like slaves. Women here are already so vulnerable."
Forces went into Afghanistan, inter alia, to rid the country of the Taliban, an evil rabble of misogynists from the 8th Century. it seems that their replacements are little better.. The report states some (unnamed) NATO countries have threatened to withdraw their troops unless the legislation was drastically re-written. Perhaps it is time for them all to leave.