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Afghanistan Subject of Senate Hearing

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a June 26 hearing to highlight recent developments in Afghanistan. While the focus of the hearing was U.S. military action in Afghanistan, several remarks were made with respect to the role of women in Afghanistan. Noting that Afghanistan is “no longer the country it was on September 11,” Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said that the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) has been “responsible for many successes, such as reopening schools, including schools that educate girls; putting in place the starting points for building national security institutions; establishing judicial and human rights commissions; reintegrating women and ethnic minorities into society; and announcing and beginning to implement a ban on opium cultivation and harvesting.”

Deputy Secretary Armitage told the committee that the United States “will continue to work with the Afghan Transitional Administration to protect the rights of women and encourage their effective participation in civic life.”

During the question and answer period, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of increased security to women in Afghanistan. “I have heard first hand from Afghan women who have called my office to say that security is their number one priority,” she said.

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