A senior U.S. official involved in Afghanistan policy said changes to the land program . . . stem from a desire at the top levels of the Obama administration to triage the war and focus on the overriding goal of ending the conflict.
"Gender issues are going to have to take a back seat to other priorities," said the senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations. "There's no way we can be successful if we maintain every special interest and pet project. All those pet rocks in our rucksack were taking us down."
The changes come at a time of growing concern among rights advocates that the modest gains Afghan women have achieved since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001 are being rolled back.
New rules being drafted by President Hamid Karzai's government would bar private safe houses for women who are fleeing abuse and place new rules on those seeking refuge in the country's 14 public shelters, including forcing women to submit to medical examinations and evicting them if their families want them back. The proposed rules would also bring the shelters - funded by international organizations, Western governments and private donors - under the direct control of the Afghan government.
Even the Soviets and the Shah were better on the great pet rock of gender equity, were they not?
But hey, ladies, don't get your panties in a twist.