Fariba Ahmedi, a member of Afghanistan's parliament, says the murder of women's rights activist Safia Amajan "will not derail women from the path we are on." Ms. Amajan, a former teacher and school administrator and the head of Kandahar province's women's affairs department, was shot to death on her way to work. She was an outspoken critic of the Taleban. A Taleban commander claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened death to other Afghan women.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai said Ms. Amajan's killers will be brought to justice. "The enemies of Afghanistan must understand that we have millions of people like Safia Amajan, who will continue to serve this great nation." President George W. Bush said the American people join with the people of Afghanistan in mourning the loss of Safia Amajan:
"And her loss shows the nature of this enemy we face. They have no conscience. Their objective is to create fear, and create enough violence so we withdraw and let them have their way. And that's unacceptable."
Afghan women have made remarkable progress since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001. Many Afghan women were among the twelve million registered voters who defied Taliban terror to vote in September 2005 for the parliament's two-hundred-forty-nine member lower house. About a quarter of those members are women. Afghan women hold more than one-hundred-twenty of the four-hundred-twenty seats of the country's provincial councils. More than half a million Afghan girls were newly enrolled in school in 2005.
The Taleban are determined to wipe out the gains made by Afghan women. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands have been displaced this year in stepped-up attacks by Taleban insurgents. Schools for girls are special targets. But Afghan girls continue to go to schools like the elementary school in the village of Mollai in Parwan province. "We lack everything here," said the school's teacher Mahmad Agul, "paved roads, electrical power, deep wells, clinics. But this school was our highest priority."
"We understand that a free society is one that counts upon an educated citizenry," said President Bush. The U.S., he said, "will do the hard work necessary" to help Afghanistan succeed.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.