"The condition of Afghan women continues to be one of the worst in the world," said this report. "In general, traditional gender biases, lack of security, weakness of government institutions, and women's subordinate positions in Afghan society continue to impede women's exercise of rights and freedoms. Women in Afghanistan still face widespread threats, including baad, forced marriages, child marriages, honor killings, and self-immolation at alarmingly high rates."
Baad, according to DOD, is "the practice of using women as compensation to settle disputes among practitioners of traditional dispute resolution."
The April 2012 DOD progress report said: "NTM-A (NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan) continues to work with the ANA to increase female recruitment, as female security forces play a key role in enhancing the credibility and effectiveness of the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces). However, the effort to integrate women into the ANA has been largely ineffective. Currently, there are 350 female members of the ANA, which is only a fraction of the ambitious goal of 19,500."
The report also said: "Nonetheless, the issue of women in the ANA remains a focus."
DOD's December 2012 progress report said: "Currently, there are 379 female members of the ANA, which is only a fraction of the goal of 19,500. Nevertheless, training capacity continues to be set aside for female recruits."
In two years, the U.S. and its allies were able to increase the number of women in the Afghan army by 78 -- from 301 to 379.
Meanwhile, according to a report released this week by the Government Accountability Office, the Afghan War has become more violent in recent years. "The security situation in Afghanistan, as measured by enemy-initiated attacks, has deteriorated since 2005," said the report.
Each year since 2010, according to the report, Afghan forces have approximately doubled the number of insider attacks they perpetrated on the U.S. and NATO personnel training them. In 2010, according to a GAO chart, there were about 10 insider attacks; in 2011, there were about 20; and, in 2012, there were more than 40.
"According to one ISAF and several DOD officials," said GAO, "as the United States and ISAF continue to shift their focus from combat to an all advise-and-assist mission, larger numbers of personnel may be exposed to a possible insider attack."
The United States rightly went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 because al-Qaida had used that country as a base of operations to plan and launch an attack on the United States. Our war aim was and should have been to protect our security and our liberty.
We have stayed in Afghanistan for more than 11 years pursuing goals such as integrating women into the Afghan army.
Today, Afghanistan remains a horrible place not only for indigenous women, but also for the Americans sent by our government to teach them to be soldiers.