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'Where is justice?' Afghans march to protest violence against women

Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images

Members of the group Afghan Young Women for Change take part in a protest denouncing violence against women in Kabul, Afghanistan Saturday.

Members of Afghan Young Women for Change staged a protest march in Afghanistan's capital Kabul Saturday, denouncing violence against women, according to AFP photographs.

Some among the group of about 30 women were pictured holding placards that read "Where is justice?"


They took to the streets following the killing of five Afghan women in less than a month in three provinces of the country, AFP said.

Concern is mounting among some Western officials, activists and some of the country's lawmakers that women's rights could be compromised under any power-sharing deal between the government and the Taliban, which President Hamid Karzai has been seeking to end the war, Reuters reported.

Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images

Afghan police keep watch from behind a wire fence during the protest.

Activists were outraged last month when Karzai appeared to back recommendations from his powerful clerics, the Ulema Council, to segregate the sexes and allow husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances, reminiscent of Taliban rule, Reuters said.

The Islamist group banned women from most work, education and the right to vote during their 1996-2001 rule, laws which halted Koofi's medical studies following her bachelor degree in law and political science.

Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images

Afghan Young Women for Change activists hold placards that read "Where is justice?"

And there other indications that Karzai and his government, by extending an olive branch to the Taliban, have started to clamp down on political rights.

Lawmaker Fawzia Koofi has announced she will stand for the Afghan presidency at the next election.

Koofi -- lucky to be alive after she was condemned to die shortly after birth for being a girl -- has become an outspoken Afghan member of parliament and a champion of women's rights.

The 36-year-old expects harsh opposition, threats of violence and pressure against her family as her campaign gets underway to replace Karzai, who must step down that year after serving the constitutional limit of two consecutive terms.

"I am sure my campaign will be the noisiest. I will have lots of troubles against me," the politician from the country's remote northeastern Badakhshan province told Reuters in an interview this week.

"It's very easy to terrorize a woman in Afghanistan. It's very easy to create accusations against a woman, and then her political life will be finished," she added.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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