May 3rd, 2011
08:24 AM ET

Opinion: Support women's rights without war

By David Cortright, Special to CNN

Editor's Note: David Cortright is the Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author or editor of seventeen books, including most recently "Ending Obama's War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan" (Paradigm Press, 2011). He testifies this week at a hearing on women in Afghanistan before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives.

What will happen to Afghan women when the United States begins withdrawing troops later this year? Will women be thrown under the bus as soldiers head for the exits?

To find out what Afghan women think, my colleague Sarah Smiles Persinger and I authored the report Afghan Women Speak, based on more than 50 interviews in Kabul with policymakers, diplomats, military officers, and most importantly Afghan women, including female parliamentarians, activists, health and NGO workers.

The women we interviewed realize they cannot achieve progress in a militarized environment. They favor a peace process and reconciliation with the Taliban and insurgent groups. But they do not want a peace that is purchased at their expense. FULL POST