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The Importance of Women in Afghanistan

            Peacebuilding in a country full of war and poverty seems far-fetched to those living in the wreckage left behind after the Taliban regime ran its course. "The constant debate over land, water, ethnicity, and family based issues continue to fuel the local disputes that often flare into violence" (International Crisis Group Report, "Peacebuilding in Afghanistan" (2003): Page 1). Resolution in Afghanistan is difficult due to the fact that many Afghans distrust the idea of peace and reconciliation. After one failed attempt after another in building reconciliation it is not surprising the overwhelming skepticism the citizens of Afghanistan have especially women. .
             Armed battle has disastrous effects on all citizens, however women face major challenges. Afghanistan has a weak state system and armed opposition groups, as well as serious problems with human security, human rights, and women's participation. In Afghanistan's highly patriarchal society, women have been subjected to violence by husbands and other male family members. The male head of the household whether it be brother, husband, father, or other family member makes all major decisions regarding the woman's life: whether she gets to go to school and who she marries. Furthermore, wars, and especially occupation by foreign powers, have been accompanied by crises of masculinity that have led to restrictions on women's mobility and increase in violence against women. Women are caught between weak states, occupying powers, and the gender inequality social norms. In a country where women literally have little to no power they are largely excluded from political decision making due to politics being masculine and male-dominated. .
             Afghan women and youth are vulnerable and are an intentional target of the many conflicts happening in Afghanistan. Their inclusion in the social and political processes is imperative in both the short and long term goals of the country.

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