Afghanistan, population 32 million, is a country with a rich heritage. Women in Afghanistan face many challenges. In 2004 Afghanistan adopted a Constitution which states that “the citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law” and imposes a positive duty on the government to “devise and implement effective programs to create and foster balanced education for women.” However, the Constitution also states that the tenets and provisions of Islam are superior to the law. The interpretation of religious tenants has been the basis for depriving women of basic rights in the recent past under the Taliban.

The Afghani Penal Code, which is a mixture of socialist jurisprudence and ancient Islamic practice, does not contain any explicit prohibitions against rape, sexual harassment, or any other crimes against women. The Code's treatment of married women and mothers, while affording them special protective privileges, simultaneously refuses to recognize basic violations of a woman's rights.

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