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No work for women – American charity head arrested

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The government of Afghanistan, which is controlled by the radical Islamic Taliban movement, has issued an edict forbidding women to work with the United Nations or private relief organizations, the New York Times reported July 11.

Relief work is often the only work available to many women who are trying to support families in a country devastated by decades of civil war.

On July 9, the Taliban’s religious police arrested an American, Mary MacMakin, 71. MacMakin founded an organization to work with Afghan Widows, the Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Support for Afghanistan.

Seven Afghan women working for her were also arrested. MacMakin refused a Taliban offer to go free and leave her colleagues in their custody.

The Taliban have opposed women working outside the home since they took control of most of the country in 1996. Over the last year, however, women began to return to jobs in health, education and food service.

The U.S., which has no diplomatic relations with the Taliban, has called for MacMakin’s release.

For full story, go to the New York Times.

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