November 9th, 2010
08:17 AM ET

Armed men burn down girls' school

Armed men burned down a girls' primary school in eastern Afghanistan on Monday night, an act that also destroyed hundreds of Qurans, a government official said on Tuesday. FULL POST

Afghan women defying labels
November 9th, 2010
06:23 AM ET

Afghan women defying labels

CNN’s Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty and CNN Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott recently returned from Afghanistan, where they traveled the country embedded with U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan, part of the Obama administration's civilian "surge." This is part of the series, "The Other Afghan Offensive."

The stereotype of women in Afghanistan is that they are oppressed. Invisible. Unable to contribute to society.

Many of the women we came across while traveling the country defied these labels. FULL POST

October 12th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

New face, new life

Aisha was 19 years old when CNN first told her story - a survivor of persistent abuse. Her husband — a member of the Taliban — sliced off her nose and ears after a Taliban court in Oruzgan ruled she had brought shame to the family by running away. Now, she unveils her new nose and begins a new life in America.


Filed under: Life and Culture • Women's issues
August 25th, 2010
10:04 AM ET

Officials: Schoolgirls, teachers sick from poison gas

Dozens of schoolgirls and teachers were sickened Wednesday by poison gas in Afghanistan, medical and government officials said.

The latest incident, this one at a high school, is the ninth such case involving the poisoning of schoolgirls, said Asif Nang, spokesman for the nation's education ministry. FULL POST

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Filed under: Taliban • Women's issues
August 18th, 2010
06:05 PM ET

'Alarming' rate of drug use among women, children

KABUL — The 18 women sit cross-legged on metal beds, wearing long, loose dresses and nightgowns, their heads completely covered with shawls. They do not want us to see them. Some of them are holding babies in their laps.

They are addicted to heroin and opium, products of Afghanistan's richest and cruelest crop, poppies. Some of their infants are addicted, too. FULL POST

Photo Spotlight: Gum on the street
August 11th, 2010
10:21 AM ET

Photo Spotlight: Gum on the street

A woman in a burqa and gloves sells gum on the streets of Kabul.  Under Taliban rule women were not allowed to leave their homes without being escorted by a male relative and were required to wear a burqa which covered their bodies from head to toe. Though women have more freedom now than under Taliban rule, some still wear the burqa.

Photo by CNN's Jill Dougherty

Meetings with Bibi Aisha, then and now
August 4th, 2010
11:40 AM ET

Meetings with Bibi Aisha, then and now

Editor's note:  Bibi Aisha, the Afghan 19-year-old mutilated by her Talib husband, is now on her way to the United States for reconstructive surgery. CNN correspondent Atia Abawi writes about first meeting Aisha and what she's like today.

January 2010
Bibi Aisha didn't want to be interviewed and I couldn't blame her.

But her story was so remarkable – and so tragic – that I wasn't about to give up my efforts.

I had to make one more phone call.

Nineteen-year-old Aisha had survived persistent abuse a traumatic assault. Her husband — a member of the Taliban — sliced off her nose and ears after a Taliban court in Oruzgan ruled she had brought shame to the family by running away. (See the original story)

The court didn't care that she was tortured and abused by her father-in-law and 10 brothers-in-law on a daily basis. FULL POST

July 30th, 2010
01:27 PM ET

Photos: Women living under the Taliban threat

TIME Magazine examines women in Afghanistan and how some have embraced the freedoms that have come from the defeat of the Taliban — and how they fear a Taliban revival.  Fawzia Koofi, in photo at right, is one of those women. The former deputy speaker of Parliament, Koofi is very outspoken on women's issues. She is running again for a second term in parliament, but fears that new election rules may make it more difficult to succeed. She fears that outspoken women like her will be sidelined.

Photographer Jodi Bieber meets the extraordinary women of a war-torn nation in a TIME Magazine photo essay.

More: Cover story: Afghan women and the return of the Taliban


Filed under: Photo Spotlight • Women's issues
July 16th, 2010
11:14 AM ET

Will Afghan women's rights be bargained away?

On a recent afternoon I visited with a Kabul girls' high school principal, whose office looks out on a beautiful and blooming garden. Trained in mathematics, she works 12 hours a day at a school that teaches more than 4,000 girls in three shifts each day.

She smiled with pride as she pointed to a shiny gold championship cup her students brought home from a recent sports tournament. But her mood shifted instantly when I asked about their future.

"We are living day by day in Afghanistan," she said. "Let's see what comes; let's see if they have a chance. Let's see what happens with security."

She and other Afghans will be watching Tuesday when a bevy of international donors descend upon their capital to discuss the Afghan government's plan to achieve peace and stability for its citizens. Women leaders are struggling for more than symbolic representation at the Kabul Conference, which will cover topics including agricultural development, economic empowerment, governance and security.

The most talked-about topic not on the official agenda: Talks with the Taliban.

Read the full commentary from Gayle Tzemach Lemmon


Filed under: Kabul conference • Taliban • Voices • Women's issues • Your View
July 15th, 2010
11:08 AM ET

Afghanistan's 'Oprah' helps heal country's wounds

She's a sexy celebrity with millions of fans, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

With flashy music videos and a performance at the White House this past March, Mozhdah is a singing sensation and a model. And her latest achievement is becoming the host of a popular - though controversial - television talk show.

But if you don't know who she is, you're probably not an Afghan.

Mozhdah Jamalzadah is an Afghan superstar in a country still struggling with war and a battle between ideologies and cultures. FULL POST