Afghan President Hamid Karzai landed a devastating blow to women’s right with his new law.
An effort by ministers from the United States, Canada and other members of the 42-nation coalition fighting in Afghanistan to put an optimistic face on the war’s progress came close to collapse on Tuesday when Afghan President Hamid Karzai was publicly accused of supporting a law that dramatically limits the rights of women.
Attended in total by 72 countries and organizations interested in rebuilding the country, The Hague summit was meant to be a “big tent” show of support for U.S. President Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan war plans. But by day’s end the participants had been forced to confront the reality of a government riddled with corruption and committed to legislating sexual inequality.
According to United Nations organizations that have seen it, a law backed by the Karzai government would legalize rape within marriage and would forbid women from going to the doctor or leaving their home without their husband’s protection.
It also reportedly grants custody of children only to fathers or grandfathers.
Faced with questions about the law Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Clinton expressed dismay. She is said to have upbraided Mr. Karzai, whose presidency has been backed and promoted by the United States for years, in a private meeting.