The situation for women in Afghanistan is deteriorating, going from bad to worse:
A gunman lying in wait shot and killed an 18-year-old woman as she left her job at a U.S.-based development company Tuesday, casting a spotlight on a stepped-up campaign of Taliban intimidation against women in this southern city where U.S. troops plan a major operation in the coming weeks.
Although there was no claim of responsibility and police said the motive for the attack was unclear, Taliban militants have been particularly harsh with women who work for foreign organizations or attend school. Bands of thugs are increasingly harassing women who want jobs, education and their own style of clothing, women and aid workers say.
This is not an isolated incident, but part of a campaign of terror against those who reject the Taliban's view of life. There have been better times even in the recent past, but now all efforts at reform are shut down violently:
In the best of times, lives of women in conservative Afghanistan are far more restricted than in the West, especially in rural areas where a woman's place is in the home and beneath the all-encompassing burqa. Since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, however, women in urban areas like Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif and Jalalabad have more choices — with some in parliament, government and business.
Even in Kandahar, the major city of the ultraconservative south, women say restrictions eased in the first years after the Taliban were gone. But as the Islamist movement began to rebound in 2003, pressure on women to adhere to strict Islamist and Afghan traditions increased — with little protection from the ineffectual and corrupt Afghan police.
As long as all religions are seen as equally true, and women''s rights are sacrificed to multi-culturalism, there is no legitimate reason to suggest that societies separate themselves from this anti-woman construct. And relativism will kill as many people as the worst of religions.