In response to remarks by David Cameron during his visit to Afghanistan today, Rowan Harvey, ActionAid's women's rights policy advisor, said:
“The £178m a year the UK government has pledged to support Afghanistan's development is an important first step, but the most fragile and patchy progress so far has been in realizing the rights of women.
“Defending women’s rights was one of the reasons given for going to war in Afghanistan in the first place, so the international community must not abandon women at this critical juncture. Women in Afghanistan are putting their lives on the line every day to help secure peace and build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities but they are afraid of what will happen when international troops withdraw.
“So many promises have been made to Afghan women and so few have been kept. The government should stand shoulder to shoulder with them and provide vital funding to women’s organisations to help women come together and protect their rights.
“The next time these two leaders meet will be in London in November for the London Development Conference on Afghanistan. As co-host of that conference the UK should be working to ensure the voices of Afghan women are not sidelined in those important negotiations.”