Afghan Law Against Women Stuns Rights Groups

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A law that allows men to starve their wives if they refuse to obey sexual demands is set to take effect in Afghanistan.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai ratified the law ahead of this week's election. The move has stunned human rights groups who accuse the president of selling out Afghan women for votes.

Karzai is running for re-election and needs the support of the Shiite community which this law primarily affects. The Shiites make up between ten and 20 percent of the Afghan population.

"You know, Afghanistan is Islamic country. Afghanistan is not America," said Ahmed Wali Karzai, the campaign manager for the Afghan president.

Under the new law, women will also have to get permission from their husbands to leave their houses. For some, this new law is about upholding Islamic values. But for others, it is another opportunity to denigrate women.

"It somehow approaches women as a second-class citizens and approaches women more as property than a human being," said Orzala Nemat, of the Afghan Women's Network.

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