Just remind me. We’re staying in Afghanistan to save the women from awful oppression at the hands of the Taliban.
Often characterised as valiant crusaders defying Afghanistan’s chauvinistic culture, many female candidates standing in tomorrow’s parliamentary elections may in fact be just the opposite: proxies doing a warlord’s bidding. Women’s rights campaigners in Kabul claim that the majority of a record number of female candidates in the vote – a contest widely expected to be marred by bloodshed and fraud – have little interest in advancing their own political agendas or promoting women’s and human rights.
Instead, activists say, many candidates are pawns in a game of patronage, with the victors expected first and foremost to protect the interests of whichever strongman, powerbroker or mafioso has bankrolled their campaign.
It is just one of the problems surrounding a vote that will almost certainly be beset by violence and a low turn-out. The Taliban have left letters outside hundreds of mosques, warning locals not to go to the polls, and threatened violence against anyone taking part.