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April 2, 2009
11:54 AM


Diana Duarte, Media Coordinator (212) 627-0444;

NATO Gathers to Debate Afghanistan Policies; MADRE Releases New Talking Points on Afghanistan

NEW YORK - April 2 - In preparation for the NATO summit this weekend, high-level discussions have already taken place in recent days on a topic likely to dominate the summit agenda: President Obama's strategy of military escalation in Afghanistan. Today, MADRE released a set of talking points warning that intensification of military activity in Afghanistan will not resolve the crisis and will not eliminate abuses of Afghan women's rights.

In Obama's statement last Friday, he announced a planned expansion of US engagement in Afghanistan. Whereas in February, he had proposed an increase of 17,000 troops, this recent announcement augments that number by 4,000. He maintained that the option of sending even more troops would remain open.

This week, delegates from 70 countries met in The Hague in advance of this weekend's NATO summit to discuss collaboration with the newly announced US plans.

Sunila Abeysekera, Executive Director of IWRAW Asia Pacific and member of the MADRE Network of Experts, said today, "If the world pays attention to the voices of Afghan women who want global accountability for the violence and injustice inflicted on them because of a conflict that has gone on for decades, then they will understand that no resolution can come through intensifying military intervention in Afghanistan. The true challenge is about making way for the voices of moderation that do exist within Afghanistan."

Vivian Stromberg, MADRE Executive Director, said today, "We have seen a marked increase in civilian casualties in the past year, and the plan to send in thousands of additional US troops will only exacerbate this disaster. This plan is ill-conceived and will jeopardize Afghan lives and the country's stability. The defense of women's rights in Afghanistan will not be achieved by military force but by negotiated agreement that respects the demands of Afghan women."

For more information, MADRE's talking points on Afghanistan reveal the dangers of the proposed troop surge and the threats to civilian life. They also expose the catastrophic situation for women in Afghanistan, the complicity of US policies in propping up these conditions, and the role of Afghan women in promoting a just peace and women's human rights.

These resources can be found here:


MADRE is an international women's human rights organization that works in partnership with community-based women's organizations worldwide to address issues of health and reproductive rights, economic development, education, and other human rights. MADRE provides resources, training, and support to enable our sister organizations to meet concrete needs in their communities while working to shift the balance of power to promote long-term development and social justice. Since we began in 1983, MADRE has delivered nearly 25 million dollars worth of support to community-based women's organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Balkans, and the United States. For more information about MADRE, visit our website at


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