For years, there has been growing discomfort over the loss of American lives and treasure in Afghanistan while the government moves increasingly toward a Taliban-like legal system that rejects most of the rights that we consider fundamental for all humanity. Those concerns have been magnified this week with a new Afghan law that makes it legal for men to rape their wives. Under the law, a woman “is bound to preen for her husband as and when he desires.”
President Hamid Karzai signed the legislation that says: “As long as the husband is not traveling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night,” Article 132 of the law says. “Unless the wife is ill or has any kind of illness that intercourse could aggravate, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband.”
The law allows for the raping of wives in a country where women already face tremendous abuse, including widespread incidents of rape. So, we are now sacrificing to preserve a medieval system where women are treated as chattel and subject to discretionary rape.
In another demonstration of how ridiculous this legal system has become, laws are passed only to govern parts of the populace. This law governs the Shiite community, which makes up about 20 percent of this country of 30 million people, but not Afghan Sunnis.
One of the drafters of the legislation, Sayed Hossain Alemi Balkhi, a Shiite lawmaker, insists that women have more rights in Afghanistan than in Britain or the United States. Sure, that is why the National Organization of Woman is relocating to Kabul — it is a female wonderland of rights and recognition. Nevertheless, he insisted that the law makes women safer by ensuring that the husband is obliged to provide for his wife — after raping them that is.
It is good that we are passing out viagra to the local warlords.