Jan. 5 - Violent crime against women in Afghanistan hit record levels and became increasingly brutal in 2013, according to the head of the country's human rights commission. Nathan Frandino reports.
In a country where women once lived with heavy restrictions under Taliban rule, activists in Afghanistan fear a return to life without women's rights. This comes after record levels of violent crime against women in 2013. Sima Samar, head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, says the brutality of attacks on women is intensifying. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMA SAMAR, HEAD OF THE AFGHANISTAN INDEPENDENT HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION; SAYING: "I think the problem is the brutality of the violence against women was really shocking this year, including the cutting of the nose and lips of women, including mass rape in public space." A commission spokesperson says the latest figures for 2013 show a 25 percent increase in cases of violence against women from March through September. Samar says a deteriorating economy and growing insecurity are also contributing factors. One student says protecting women will depend on lawmakers. SOUNDBITE) (Dari) MARIM METRA, UNIVERSITY STUDENT, SAYING: "Whenever there is an incident in which women are the victims, the government should take action according to the law. When there is rule of law in the society I am sure the violence against women will decrease. The minimum action we ask the government to do is to punish those who commit the crimes against women." There's also concern about what will happen when foreign troops leave at the year's end. Restoring women's rights was cited as an objective of U.S.-led forces that entered in 2001.