Also from Chris at AmericaBlog.
For a period of time, the Bush Administration promoted the war in Afghanistan as (among other things) a place where Western powers could promote better treatment for women. Visits by Laura Bush, in secure and remote bunkers far from the real world, highlighted the new Afghanistan where women were active participants in modern society. Whether there was any truth to those stories is hard to say and not even relevant considering how the forgotten country has drifted backwards in so many ways. When a country invades and occupies another country, it should be assumed that you accept responsibility for its people. The failing country has booming poppy crops, issuing death sentences for journalists and women are worse off today than even during the Taliban. We own this and it's shameful.
Grinding poverty and the escalating war is driving an increasing number of Afghan families to sell their daughters into forced marriages.
Girls as young as six are being married into a life of slavery and rape, often by multiple members of their new relatives. Banned from seeing their own parents or siblings, they are also prohibited from going to school. With little recognition of the illegality of the situation or any effective recourse, many of the victims are driven to self-immolation – burning themselves to death – or severe self-harm.