The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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

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


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 partners with community-based women's groups to advance women's human rights, challenge injustice and create social change in contexts of war, conflict, disaster and their aftermath. MADRE advocates for a world in which all people enjoy individual and collective human rights; natural resources are shared equitably and sustainably; women participate effectively in all aspects of society; and all people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. For more information about MADRE, visit