By Sally L Kitch
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Extra info for Contested Terrain: Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders
2 Women constituted “the most underprivileged group,” according to human rights activist Sima Wali. With millions in abject poverty, women constituted the majority of the 22 million Afghans who relied on international assistance for survival. Their average life span in 2001 was less than forty years; by 2005 estimates placed it at only forty-six years. 7 percent before age five. Clampdowns on women by the mujahideen and the Taliban had left a generation of Afghan women malnourished, unhealthy, and uneducated.
She pointed to individual women who had been delegates to various jirgas and other assemblies.
Like Jamila, Farida was also counting on the power of education to bring peace to Afghanistan. She was dismayed that the current textbooks in many schools in Afghanistan and in schools for refugees in Pakistan were filled with violence. 10 Political groups were trying to indoctrinate the children. “When they go back to their families, of course, if they have knowledge of such violence, it’s very difficult to bring peace within one year or two years,” Farida admitted. They see how easy it is to blow up school buildings.