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Old 08-16-2010, 12:17 AM
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Default Pro-War Human Rights Watch

Well, well, well ...

"If you had to choose between saving a girl's life or enabling her to go to school, which would you do first?" This was Afghan President Hamid Karzai's reply when I asked him last month if the rights of Afghan women might be sacrificed for a peace settlement with the Taliban.

.... Some suspect that talking about women's rights is a pretext for keeping the United States in Afghanistan forever (ironically, the part of President Obama's constituency that would normally be most concerned about defending women in Afghanistan is also the part most wary of the U.S. commitment there). But whether one believes in Gen. David Petraeus's strategy of counterinsurgency for as long as it takes, or a more limited counterterrorism mission with fewer troops, there is no need for hasty deals that give the Taliban a share of power.

Whatever one's vision of the way forward in Afghanistan, the answer to Karzai's heartfelt question must be: You must help that girl stay alive and go to school at the same time. For if you try to settle the conflict in a way that sacrifices human rights in the name of peace, you will end up with neither.
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