"She is shocked by how easily some male members of parliament are now publicly threatening their female counterparts in the middle of parliamentary meetings."
It's no surprise really. Karzai only occasionally tipped his hat to women's rights because he knew it was the sort of thing the Yankee Infidels cared about.
With Obama's withdrawal approaching, he no longer cares about pleasing America since he knows that the US will cut him off sooner or later. The people he does care about pleasing are Muslim clerics and Taliban warlords who are not big fans of feminism.
Afghanistan is reverting to what it was all along. A tribal Muslim society in which women have no rights.
It takes a lot to rattle Shukria Barakzai, a staunch defender of women's rights and one of more than 20 very outspoken women members of parliament in Afghanistan.
But even though she's run two successful parliamentary campaigns and has taken on conservative members of Afghan society, she is shocked by how easily some male members of parliament are now publicly threatening their female counterparts in the middle of parliamentary meetings.
"A (male) member of parliament stood up in our general meeting yesterday and said parliament is not a place for women, your time is up here, you must not pursue this fight for women's rights,” says Ms. Barakzai.
For many of the Afghan women leaders, dealing with sexism and discrimination isn't anything new. But women's rights activists say that male parliamentarians have recently intensified a war of words inside parliament. It's a war that many Afghan women worry echoes a greater issue in society and could reverse public tolerance and support for women's rights.
“I've noticed the rhetoric around women's issues has changed, and conservative members of society and parliament are once again feeling safe to verbally attack women publicly,” says Barakzai. “The Afghan government isn't doing anything about these kinds of public threats and attacks on women. It is almost as if they agree with the conservatives.”
The actions of the male parliamentarians are just one of many reminders to Barakzai and other women here that as the international security forces, foreign diplomats, and advocacy organizations prepare to leave the country in 2014, Afghan women will be left without a key source of support.
Correction. They will be left with no support at all except infusions of cash from Western NGO's. And if the Islamists are smart, they'll set up Brotherhood type Islamic women's groups that will siphon off that money as well.