April 2nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

New Afghan law might legalize rape

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. has some serious thinking to do when it comes to that democracy we're supporting in Afghanistan. Almost eight years after we booted out the Taliban, the U.S. backed President, Hamid Karzai, has reportedly signed a law which critics say legalizes rape.

A new Afghan law makes it legal for men to rape their wives.

Human rights groups and some Afghan lawmakers say the law legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband by not allowing her to refuse sex, and prevents women from leaving the house without a man's permission.

One legislator doesn't even remember the parliament debating or voting on the law - but the law it is.

Karzai hasn't commented on the law yet, but critics say he only signed this legislation for political purposes as a nod to Shia clerics in the country who control about 20 percent of the votes. Karzai is up for re-election in a few months. And they worry laws like these could erase any gains made for womens rights since the Taliban left power.

Meanwhile Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now says the U.S. is backing Afghan plans to hold talks with moderate Taliban members. Clinton says moderate factions of the Taliban should be offered "an honorable form of reconciliation and reintegration into a peaceful society if they are willing to abandon violence, break with al Qaeda and support the constitution."

Presumably, they would also renounce raping their wives.

The question remains if there's anyone "moderate" in those parts worth talking to when the official government can pass these kinds of laws.

Here's my question to you: In light of a new Afghan law that might legalize rape, should the U.S. be backing talks with moderate Taliban?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Lama from Boston writes:
If Karzai is willing to sacrifice the rights of women and young girls in order to get re-elected, then we better start expanding our talks with other leaders. We cannot send a message that we support this action or him.

Mike writes:
How low should the civilized world go to tolerate such evil and allow such atrocity? Do human rights mean nothing anymore? The best I can think of is pulling every woman and child out of Afghanistan and relocating them with a new identity away from Islam. Some areas of the world controlled by such monsters should be declared unfit for human habitation.

Dave writes:
It is not our place to tell other folks how to live! Yes, this is wrong in our eyes, but it was not that many years ago that a man in the U.S. could have never been arrested and prosecuted for the same crime.

Stephanie writes:
In light of the Afghan law legalizing rape, we should pack up and walk out. There's no longer anything there worth saving. Let the Taliban come back, throw up a physical and diplomatic wall around the country, cut off travel to and from, and let them starve.

Joe from Delaware writes:
If we can get some Taliban to work with us to some extent – it could be worthwhile. But we should never lose sight of the fact that they have a Stone Age mentality and no liking for human rights.

Ariana writes:
As an Afghan-American, who loves both of my countries dearly, I believe this is beyond depressing. And of course the U.S. should not be backing talks with "moderate" Taliban. If they defend the rape of any woman, they are certainly not "moderate."

Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Joe in DE

    If we can get some Talaban to work with us to some extent – it could be worthwhile. We should never lose sight of the fact the they have a stone age metality and have no liking for human rights.

    April 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  2. Terry from North Carolina

    We should get the hell out of Afganistan, this country is a black hole and no one entering it has ever been sucessful at accomplishing anything positive. As far as talks with the moderate Taliban (if there is such a thing) what for, what do we hope to accomplish ?

    April 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  3. John from Alabama

    Jack: I believe talking to moderate Taliban is a good idea, because only the extremist Taliban want rape legalized. Not all Taliban are equal some only want to live in peace. The question is can the US military seperate the extremist Taliban from the moderate Taliban. If the moderate Taliban are willing to live in peace then they might have a better life, jobs, and more prosperity than the extremist Taliban.

    April 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  4. Lama, Boston

    If Karzai is willing to sacrifice the rights of women and young girls in order to get re-elected, then we better start expanding our talks with other leaders. We cannot send a message that we support this action or him and Canada and other NATO nations must make moves to do the same. I only hope that this has not actually become law yet.

    April 2, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  5. Tina Tx

    We can talk to them but you cannot change their cultures like they cannot change ours. Is rape right? No but this is what they believe and look what a stir we Americans cause when a Muslim woman will not remove her head dress here in the states.

    April 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  6. Ron from Toronto


    I guess when it comes right down to it, it is obvious that in the last few years despite the Taliban being physically ousted from "most" of Afghanistan, their strong influence on the countries traditions and beliefs remain. The Russians and British learned this the hard way so why aren't we? It's time to pull the plug on our troop involvement in that country. The best we can hope for is a military stalemate and as long as we are there, we will continue to bring home the coffins.

    April 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  7. TJ

    Sharia law is outdated and only moves society backwards. It's a shame these countries cannot take a look at ancient history to realize this. Look at ancient china, they might've been cutting edge at one point, but their commitment to tradition is what killed the country when the imperialistic nations of the US, France, Spain, Britain etc decided to open relations with them. These people need to know when to change gears and i think that time is pastdue

    April 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  8. Graham Cohen

    Hey, I for one am all for finding peaceful and democratic solutions to all the worlds problems but hey, they had there chance, they chose to ignore it and now I don't believe they have a say in anything. Have we forgotten already those disturbing graphical images on them killing...

    What's next? Chatting with the Nazi's?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  9. Mrs. Louise Masr

    To support any government that refuses to recognize the human
    rights of any person regardles of gender, race, or relgious beliefs condones that government and human rights violations.
    This country has no business in supporting such a regime.
    We might as well take down the Statue of Liberty and throw the
    Constitution out the window and let the world know that it's fine
    to take our money and let our troops die for your ideals, cause we
    sure as hell dont have anymore.
    Mrs. Louise Mast
    Sarepta, La.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  10. Randy in Winnipeg

    Hmmmm...a "moderate Taliban"...is that like a pirannah with false teeth..Come on now lets be realistic...the goal of radical Islam is to convert all of us infidels to the religion of these whack jobs.. How long would it take Hilary Clinton, Gloria Steinham and Michelle Obama to remove the sex organs of the men of the Senate and the Congress if the US government tried to enact this kind of bigotry. The hell with political correctness...IT'S TIME TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED!!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  11. jeff smith

    The truth is we, as a military power, don't care about human rights. If we did there would be plenty of places to send troops in Africa. We just want to control that part of the world.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  12. Brandon MacKenzie

    From Prince Edward Island , Canada:

    I am watching my countrymen and women die in battle on the fields around Kandahar at an increasing rate; nevertheless, as a Canadian, I have always supported our military involvment in this volitile region as I have been comforted by our committment to expelling tyranny and introducing basic human rights to the people of Afghanistan. I am sure many in Canada have had this solemn internal debate as they watch the caskets being repatriated under the red and white of our national flag. All this changes with the recent passing of a law which barters human rights, which so many have died to secure, for a few votes in an effort to pander to the radical minority. If this law stays on the books, I expect support for this mission to dry up – I know mine has.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  13. Neil

    This is what happens when you impose Western beliefs on a society still stuck in the middle ages.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  14. Lauren

    I hate to say it, but they're not that far behind the US. Marital rape, as such, has only been a solid legal concept for maybe the last 50-60 years. Before that, a woman would have a very hard time proving that her husband raped her.

    Of course, there weren't laws (to my knowledge) declaring that the women HAD to have sex. It's just that there was no easy way to prosecute them. So this law is more than 50 or 60 years behind the US, but the concept, unfortunately, isn't.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  15. Jay Henderson from Dallas

    Would we consider their points of view if they bombed our cities, called us names, and disrespected our sacred institutions? Will their minds warm to our ideas through name calling, public shaming, bomb dropping, or accusing them of crimes they consider religious rights?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  16. Lyn

    The US-backed President signed the new law so why should it affect the talks with moderate Taliban members? If the US dislikes the new edict we should withdraw our support from the man who signed it.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  17. Karen Lakeland, Fl

    I do not agree with the law thy voted in but we buddy up to China who only allows women to have boys and at times make a woman have an abortion if it is a girl so what is the difference here. Of course it is something htat should not have happened but another country that the politicians never read the law they vote on is there not women in their government legislators also voting where were their voices in this???

    April 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  18. Mike

    No matter what we do over there, we are not going to change their culture or their way of life. Why not just let them suffer in their own destitution?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  19. Sara

    I don't see that stopping talks would help anything. At least talking to "moderate" members could potentially have some effect. Also, let it be noted that until the late 1970's most states in the U.S. did not consider spousal rape a crime either. We shouldn't be looking too far down our noses.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  20. Robert Slaven

    Canada's rape laws, until 1983, included an exemption for husbands forcing intercourse on their wives. I wonder how many US criminal codes had similar provisions until recently. We may point a finger at Afghanistan and call them "backwards", but are we North Americans that much farther ahead?

    Camarillo CA

    April 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  21. James

    I think the US and Canada should take a hard line with the Afghans, being as we are spending so much in lives and dollars. If they don't respect us or 50% of their own population, why are we there??

    James from Canada

    April 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  22. Lyle Burwell

    Now that every member of NATO agrees it is time to rethink the Afghan mission, here's my suggestion: Let's quit arming and training the police and start arming and training the women.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  23. Cyle in Dublin, CA

    I am saddened that many women will have to die fighting for their rights before the Afghani men will acknowledge that women have rights

    To make America free, Americans died to be free.
    To end slavery in this country, slaves died fighting for their freedom.
    To achieve sufferage, women died and suffered.
    To have equal rights, minority men and women died for their rights

    Strength comes from within. The price of freedom is blood.

    We may not be able to affect change without bloodshed, and the women will never be truely free until they choose to fight and die for it

    April 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  24. Mike, Houston

    Moderate Taliban members? That's like trying to talk to a moderate Nazi.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  25. Scott

    Unless we plan on taking on Islam as a whole there isn't much we can do about this kind of thing.
    That is where these people are in their stage of development as a civilization.
    It's their country. They were brought up to think this way.
    Islam and their society supports and encourages it from the time they are born.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  26. jeff riverside, ca

    Whoa....... Legalizing rape?? Serioulsy what is with these afghani-people??? Something needs to happen rape is wrong REGARDLESS

    April 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  27. John Andrews

    If true, this sort of law would leave one wondering what sort of human rights our troops have been fighting for.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  28. Tim

    Disgusting. The answer is to your question is "no."

    I usually try to avoid being ethnocentric – other places on this Earth have very different ideas of right and wrong, acceptable and taboo, etc. And that's just fine – wonderful even. But this crosses the line.

    There exists no legitimate philosophy or religion that would find this even close to ethical. The fact that this sort of thing would even find its way into a bill highlights how backwards they still are.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  29. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Bush refocused his attention on Iraq and did not finish the job in Afghanistan. Now the Taliban is back in full force and resorting back to their old ways. Karzi will be out and the country will be as archaic as ever. I say stage another fullfledged air attack and do the job right this time,or bring our men home.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  30. craig

    you could rape your wife in the USA up until the 1940's or 50's.
    How quickly we hide our own past.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  31. Frances Robinson

    This is a bad joke, right? Where's the camera?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  32. Christopher

    It might be worh while to hold talks with "moderate" Taliban leaders because they do have power and influence on the ground. However, it is quite clear that we should no longer support the puppet government of Karzai because his impotent and corrupt administration has little relevance to the citizens of Afghanistan.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  33. Jonathan

    Portland, Oregon

    Absolutely not.

    Human rights supersede religion and its inequalities and inequities.

    If a woman wants to subject herself to such actions, that should be her right and her choice, but never should it be a decision by her partner or some religious zealot pretending to know the mind of God.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  34. Carl in Canada

    The law has been signed by Karzai. I don't think this what soldiers should be sacrificing their lives for. Time to leave.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  35. John, Fort Collins, CO

    No. The U.S. should revise its stance to only back talks with moderate Taliban eunichs. Fully equipped Taliban men appear to be hopeless.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  36. John Stoner

    This law is very disturbing and really calls into question the gains made in Afghanistan from a human rights perspective. Everyone I know and work with is deeply disturbed by this turn of events. Diplomatic pressure needs to be placed on the Afghan Government and this needs to be immediately repealed.

    John Stoner
    Afghanistan Analyst

    April 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  37. Tony

    After studding the history of that part of the world I have come to the conclusion that the only way women in that part of the world will ever be treated as equals is if they fight for their rights. Protests are great but thats not what they understand or respect there. Everyday on the news you see proof of that. There was a time when that entire region was used to the idea of women warriors. This was before Islam. I think that time has come again. If they win then everyone wins. If they loose then there will be no future generations of backward thinking men to mess up the area. I am a man and I would prefer a woman that stands beside me rather than hide behind me. Regardless of what religion is in power.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  38. Benjamin

    Ultimately, I think that the answer is no. We shouldn't be backing a country that passes laws legalizing any form of rape, or removing any form of equal rights for women. If Afghanistan were willing to adhere to reasonable and respectable Civil Rights practices, entering into talks with these moderate Taliban cells would then be a much-needed occurrence. But America has always been a country that symbolizes equality and Civil Rights... and for us to back a nation that is willing to sacrifice the rights of women for dogmatic or political reasons is simply deplorable.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  39. AngryDad

    Let's remember not to get too high and mighty, in the US there is only a 5% conviction rate of rapists. So no doubt about it. The majority of rapists are never punished.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  40. JoAnne, Portland, OR

    What next, legalizing killing your wife if she doesn't produce a son or if she looks at you cross-eyed? I strongly believe that abolishing that law should be part of the talks. Would we tolerate such a law here in the United States? I think not. I cannot accept that we just brush it off and go forward with business as usual! Shame on us!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  41. waldo,york ne

    Taliban is Taliban. Didn't you just say that the taliban was "booted"? Taliban are just as evil a in 2001. Why is the US wanting to negotiate with terrorists? Isn't there a policy about Not giving aid or comfort to terrorists? Afganstan should be a 'kill zone', not on the list of internatonal welfare.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  42. David - Miami, FL

    It is surprising the different standards in cultures we have on parts of the world. However, if the U.S backs the individuals who allowed this law to be accepted, they should re-think that backing.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  43. dawn

    How is this law supposed to be enforced? Is the word of the husband taken as gospel? All a man has to do if he gets into a tift with his wife is tell the authorities she isn't putting out? How would it even be provable?
    How can anyone prove a negative? I know that shouldn't be the point to condemning this law, but it DOES demonstrate the overall lack of intelligence even the elite in these countries seem to have. My God; if the upper crust in these areas are that stupid, how moronic is the common, everyday Joe in places like Afghanistan?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  44. Matthew

    Considering the law in question and who put it into place, it might be a good idea to to talk to moderates from the Taliban because they may actually be less extremist than the people in power now. Assuming that the Taliban is made up of nothing more than terrorists and bigots is a stereotype we can no longer afford.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  45. Ban War

    In light of your ignorance and a law that MIGHT (not is) legalize rape, does this increase your knowledge base of moderate taliban to even mention them with regard to this law? I got a feeling (rather knowledge) about many absurd and ridiculous laws still in the books of many states. In light of this knowledge, should we take you seriously for allowing such laws to be in the american system and not doing anything to get them off. If you need examples, write back so I can get you started on your knowledge base. If this email doesn't answer your question, there just maybe a reason for that, but you should realize in your situation, ignorance is bliss. Enjoy

    April 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  46. simone

    This is a cultural difference that is not much different from what the Southern Baptist Convention swore to in 2000 (A wife shall live in subservience to her husband...) However, we can divorce on the grounds that a partner does not perform their conjugal duties and we can have our husbands arrested for rape. The sad truth is that many wives don't. If you were cut off negotiations with every country that didn't stand in opposition to the abuse of woman and children, America would be standing in a vacuum...in some states and within some religions in this country, not even America couldn stand up.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  47. Matt W.

    I think it shows there is no such thing as a 'Moderate' Taliban. I have no doubt of the skill, the training, or the firepower of our armed forces in Afghanistan to force a local suppression of the Taliban for a finite amount of time, anywhere in the country. But there has in history been no king, no dictator, no political ideology, and no army that could hold a hostile population against its will indefinitely. The Taliban will emerge from this occupation victorious, we will have to leave, regardless of the current administrations contention, and what kind of country will be created? One that is worse then the one we invaded, where rape is law, and murder its politics. Congratulations to Bush and to the neo-cons who wanted this war. Not one life of our brave soldiers should have been squandered, but they have been, so much sacrifice, and we have NOTHING to show for it!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  48. Ken in NC

    Jack, I think the law is wrong. If enough wives in Afghanistan turned raping husbands from Roosters to Hens in one whack, I think the law would change but even if it didn’t change, the number of rapes would be “CUT” significantly so I think the U.S. would be able to stand behind talks with a "willing" moderate Taliban.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  49. jeff

    why not? Isnt that why all of you elected the President? isn't he going to change the world? Let us now see what a brilliant diplomat and statesman Clinton is

    April 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  50. Susan

    First, define moderate Taliban. I don't think there is such a thing. This law sounds like something right out of that perennial western favorite...the Old Testament. But yes, we should be talking. Talking beats killing each other any day.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  51. Berserkr

    We need to be focused on the credibility and capabilities of the current Afghan government before any such talks can start. Until the corruption in the current government is greatly reduced it would be dangerous for any reconciliation. It could amount to giving control back to the Taliban. My personal opinion is that Karzai needs to go.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  52. Steve

    We're not there to create a utopia. We're there to prevent terrorists from planning attacks on U.S. soil. Plan and simple.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  53. Kay Tdot

    Oh my Oh my Jack, this is absolute nonsense..........how can US even listen to Taliban talkless of talking to them.......thats against all human rights and whoever backs the RAPE LAW will see the wrath of God.....

    April 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  54. Molly in Austin

    Jack, it is unbelievable that men still treat women as property & this is an outrageous EVIL law! RAPE? LEGAL? May they go straight to h*ll – are they scared of women? I can NOT believe this is actually becoming a law. It makes my blood boil.

    If Obama & specifically Michelle do not speak out about this then they can kiss my white patootie. WIB – we need more women to stand up against the atrocities against ALL women – a revolution – Women In Black stand up!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  55. Philip L.

    No. This is a step backwards for human rights in Afghanistan. What is there to debate with the Taliban? That is a 20% that should be ignored.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  56. Benny

    Of course we have to talk with them – how else would we negotiate our ideas?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  57. Paul / Charles Town, WV

    A law of this nature speaks volumes that it is still very much a man's world in that region. These men are intimidated by women and the liklihood that if given the chance they will emerge as great leaders and do great things above and beyond what they could – like spread democracy and promote human rights. And if they were to do that, men will have to learn to accept no for an answer. It seems they havn't evolved enough to do that. So, the short answer, is HELL NO!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  58. Jan Illinois

    If this is true, what in the world are we doing there? They don't want HELP, get out now and leave them all to their insanity, it is what it is, we just have to accept it and get on with getting our OWN country in order.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  59. Kirsten Niedzwecki

    Just what have we been doing in that country for the past 8 years? This is unacceptable and should be publicly denounced by the USA.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  60. Steven Mills

    The US has a fairly disastrous history when it comes to meddling in the legal and cultural affairs of other countries. As abhorrent as such a law may be, those issues should be left to the various Human Rights contingencies and agencies with both topical and regional expertise. Those who determine & implement US foreign policy should make an 'end run' around such socio-political landmines and confine themselves to trying to achieve stability (and maybe even peace) in that area.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  61. R. L. Knapp

    No. I really don't think there is any such animal as a moderate Taliban. You're discussing a culture that views women as chattel. I challange any and all apoligists of radical Islam to point to an Islamic nation where women have half the rights and prerequisites enjoyed by any nation in Western society. Maybe we should consider dusting off those neutron bombs if they were anything more than a disinformation campaign directed at the Soviet Union.

    R.L. Knapp

    April 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  62. Beca

    Yes the US should engage in talks with Afghanistan because rape should not be tolerated regardless of country and people. However while the US can impact other countrie's policies and laws they are not the world police and should respect how each government manages its people, thats the point of democracy.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  63. Gracie S.

    I feel the United States should send a very STRONG message to Afghanistan that any infringement of human rights will not be tolerated,especially that of their women. Karzai should know being backed by the U.S. he is quite expendable,all we'd have to do is find someone else to do his job.Just reading about this pisses me off.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  64. Marilyn

    I think the women of Afganistan should unite and adopt the law of "Loreena Bobbit" !!!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  65. Tracey

    I think dealing with the Taliban at all is a slap in the face to all the soldiers that helped remove them from power not to mention the women are trapped there. As a 2nd generation Afghani-American I am grateful that my grandfather came to this country giving my mother and I a chance at freedom here. It saddens me to think I might have family in Afghanistan that I have never met that suffer under these new laws.

    Fayette, MO

    April 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  66. Jim H

    Let me clarify something lest my prior post lead anyone to think I do not care about the issue. Abandoning the Afghan government will not help Afghan women, as the Taliban and al Qaeda are at least as bad. Staying may not change the law anytime soon, but we do have the hope of improving the lot of the women, while leaving would eliminate that hope.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  67. Susan Kiner

    Outrageous, outrageous, outrageous! Sometimes you have to just give up and go home. How can we justify the taking of American lives in the defense of Afghanistan when a law that allows rape can be passed? If the Afghans want to live in the 9th century – it should be their call – but we don't belong there defending such a regime.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  68. Dan from NYC

    I was under the impression that this is the new Obama foreign policy: we don't criticize the internal machinations of other countries. Moral relativity is the name of the game these days: China can abuse their own citizens and still be met with open arms; Russia can threaten its neighbors and we will still shake hands with them in front of the cameras; and Iran can kill our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and we "extend a hand if they unclench their fist". Our government (and citizenry) has forgotten that there are certain truths and rights that are unalienable. We are allowing the return of Power Politics and dictatorship overseas while we attack the rights and livelihood of our citizens here at home. Bravo Obama.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  69. Frank NYC

    While I don't really support the whole talking to the Taliban period, this law and communication between the Taliban have next to nothing in common. From how it sounds, this law is horrible, but unless it was sponsored by these so called moderate Taliban then it shouldn't matter one way or the other. All cultures have their difference in what's considered accpetable and not, but that is not what we're at war with. If anythng, the US should be reconsidering ties with Hamid Karzai instead.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  70. TankPDX

    No of course not, for this latest reason and because the Taliban does not share our interest for democracy. However if we really valued human rights in our allies then we never have gotten involved in the Middle East quagmire to begin with. Just remember why the Shaw of Iran was overthrown.

    Portland, Or.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  71. Liz Curtis

    I cannot believe this! This is offensive to me as a woman

    April 2, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  72. john j. grimes Watertown, Ma.

    First of all Jack, would you please define"moderate Taliban"?
    Aren't these the same radical fundamentalists who fought a proxy war against the Soviet Union for us and then used the weapons we gave them to use on our soldiers for the past 7 years? It's all coming back to haunt us and with 4,000 more soldiers being sent there it is nothing short of disastrous.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  73. Jennifer

    Democracy doesn't (necessarily) mean a Western view of human rights. It means whatever 51% of the population wants it to mean, and therein lies the problem.

    Amman, Jordan

    April 2, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  74. Peggy Auld

    This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard of!!!! It's typical left-wing liberals who think "playing nice" with the enemy is going to get us far. I'm sure Osama Bin Laden and all of the Taliban is laughing their heads off! People may have not respected President Bush, but he certainly was going to protect our country a lot better than I feel President Obama will. Obama is going to try and "talk" his way out of people hating America.

    As far as the legalization of rape, it's beyond disgusting.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  75. cari machet ismaeel

    yes well let thee who has not sinned cast the first stone – our laws may initially reflect that we do not sanction such activity on the part of males but our laws regarding sentencing are not that evolved in this area – especially regarding child rape we conveniently call molestation – jack i think we like to appear better but at our core are we really? what is one of the largest causes of death of pregnant woman in our society? murder by their husband

    April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  76. Andy

    Hi Jack (please excuse the familiarity),

    It is quite surprising that we are supporting this... or is it? Remember the dictators that we put in place in Latin America during the Cold War? Here's a thought... when you spend billions of dollars on a war, understand that some cultures refuse mini skirts and accept rape. This is shameful on our part.

    Mexico City

    April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  77. Kat

    The US should not be backing talks with any government that condones legalised rape without speaking outwardly and forcefully against such laws. I have not heard any condemnation coming from the US government and that, in itself, is shameful. How can we call ourselves a beacon of democracy if we support regimes that deny 50% of their population basic human rights?
    London, UK (formerly Chicago, IL)

    April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  78. Larry

    Jack, your subject and the story regarding the law just passed in Afghanistan shouldn't be a major story because there are states in our own country that discount spousal sexual assault. Take California for instance: California Penal Code §261 defines rape as “an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator.” Are you promoting a double standard here??

    April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  79. joe hennelly

    Jack, the only word missing in the Taliban's vocabulary is MODERATION.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  80. Shadysider

    Jack, we both know that should not even be posed as a question. This is America and we can't stand for that, or act as if we condone it by our continual support. The Taliban began as a noble venture (standing up to rape), but it became essentially a facist group who would use capital punishment in order to force a population to live by its' standards. It doesn't matter how moderate or radical you are. If an individual condones rape I personally condone their execution. I have very little hope for Afghanistan. Much of the population, and especially the youth only know living under Taliban rule. Plus, wasn't Karzai involved in the UNOCAL negotiations during the 90's. Again, I have very little hope for Afghanistan and we can't cooperate with rapists.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  81. Ahmad


    This is part of a bigger problem in the Muslim world. The law actually comports with some shadowy sayings of the prophet that say if a woman refuses sex, the angels of God will curse her until sunrise. it is time for Muslim Scholars to get with the 21st Century, and major reinterpretation of the Quran and the hadith (the prophet's sayings) is needed to bring Islam into civilization. This is deplorable, it makes me feel sick by just being associated with the religion. however, we will keep working and I know that shedding the light on this will hopefully bring pressure on these so-called Muslim regimes to change. I just don't see it coming in my lifetime (i am 28), I seriously hope I am wrong.


    April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  82. William Henry

    When there is an absense of speech, secret agendas rule therefore, talks must happen in order to gain some respect of ones perspective and to press anothers point of view.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  83. Sigorney

    The U.S. and Taliban and talk shouldn't even be in the same sentence. it's like trying to discipline a screaming child by softly telling him to be quiet. a government that rules by fear may not have the capacity to rule by common sense.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  84. Darrell

    This isn't about rape or women. This is about how our government and the media continue to give the Muslim religion creedence. Where is the outrage from these precious Muslims around the world about this? This is no religion!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  85. Ben

    Don't start down that path, Mr. Slaven. Pointing the finger at Western democracies to demonstrate that similar human rights abuses have been committed does nothing to address the problem, and do the exact opposite when they serve as justification to turning a blind eye to the problem.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  86. waldo,york ne

    If they want to debase women even more than they already do shows that international welfare is antiproductive because it always is given to the wrong people. Wouldn't it be nice if the federal government would stay busy actually helping the people in the US instead of trying to rule the rest of the world,especially parts that hate the US?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  87. ed bryant

    After we get out of Iraq, they'll go back to killing each other, just as they've done for hundreds of years. After we get out of Afganastan, they'll go back to killing each other, just as they've done for hundreds of years. We can retaliate for 9/11 and kill lots of bad guys, just as long as we remember that when we leave, things will go back like they were. Talking to them is fine. If we're in the same room as the bad guys, at least we can keep an eye on them, but don't expect to reform them.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  88. Louise in Alabama

    If there ARE "moderates" in those parts with which we want to have contact, then they must guarantee us something so important that we would be willing to sacrifice the laws of "rape". Such is war. The law of Abraham and Isaac. To sacrifice or not to sacrifice.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  89. Andrew in Pinehurst NC


    The President, during the campagin, said that he would talk with anyone. Maybe he should get some advice from Mrs Obama and rethink his position.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  90. Michael H. Oil City, PA

    Poll the ordinary Afghan, they want equal rights. Smart women bring in 2nd income. But they are stuck between ruling by corrupt gov't, then the mean-ass Taiban, mostly Afghan Taiban. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. Implimententing Obama's Afghan's plan is due. Karzi is a has been from the Bush puppteers. This notroius law will be quickly stumped on.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  91. Susan

    I am just stunned. I can't even really come up with a good comment, except lots of swear words, which I wouldn't want Jack to read on TV, and get fined for...I am just stunned. Even my vocabulary is stunted at this moment after reading this story. Unbelievable. Incredible. And we have Hillary making attempts to "talk" to these moderate Taliban members? Are we nuts? I think so. I think we are all going to Hell.....

    April 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  92. Rod

    Absolutely not. The Taliban promotes a regressive, oppressive society that is in total contradiction with the human-rights values that the US needs to promote, especially with respect to women. The Taliban, in addition to supporting Al-Qaeda, practices crimes again women. There is no such thing as “moderate Taliban”. It would be the same as saying “moderate criminal”.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  93. Roman Deutsch

    Hey Jack. As a Father of two beautiful daughters I think Karzai along with the idiot from Japan who made a video on how to rape a woman, need to exit this planet. Whether it be by their own hands or by the people. Which it seems as though in both cases the people are just as nuts as they are. What a world we live in! Nuclear talks from countries who want attention to these Karzai legalizing raping of woman. Sometimes I think there is no hope for mankind. Maybe by the Grace of God a real earth shaking event would be in order for Karzai. So ignorant He is and He likes to think of himself as a leader. Cow Dung is better than him. At least dung fertilizes the ground. Karzai poisons the ground he walks on.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  94. DJ

    I don't think we should have talks with any of the Taliban. Unreasonable people cannot be reasoned with. Unconsentual anything should be unlawful and punished no matter who it is.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  95. Greg


    Finding a moderate member of the Taliban would be like trying to find a moderate Republican. It would be easier to find Bigfoot!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  96. Joseph Fedock

    The only talking the Taliban, Osama, et al deserve should come from the roar of B52 engines they might hear before the see a bright light as they are vaporized.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  97. Enoch, from Dallas Tx

    This is awful to hear in this generation. Is this another era of servitude or slavery?. The international community should intervene on this issue. It is outragoues to hear that in this period of massive campaigne about human right and age long instituted women rights that a leader is doing this for his own selfish interest. In fact this is suppose to oust him out of statues and popularity.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  98. Jim, South River, Maryland

    As I understand it - and I might not - the Taliban is a Sunni Islamist movement. The law you cite was, as you point out, enacted at the behest of the 20% Shia faction, and applies only to Shia, not Sunni. Why should we refuse to talk with Sunni Taliban, who were not behind the new law, and did not seek to apply it to themselves?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  99. Seana

    The law exposes the horror that many women experience in their own homes- but unfortunately, it is less than shocking. It wasn't until the late 1970's that most states in the US made marital rape a crime. Exceptions were actually written into rape laws exempting spouses from prosecution. These laws remained on the books until as late as 1993 in North Carolina. Let's be careful not to paint ourselves as the pinnacle of civilization when it comes to women's rights.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  100. Philip

    Nothing will change in Afghanistan. The Russians tried to put some order in that country in the 70s with 70,000 Russian troops. After a long battle, they lost 20,000 Russian military personnel and billions of dollars, while the Afghanistans retreated laughingly into their inaccessible mountain caves. Philip (Canada)

    April 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  101. Chrisy Ginn

    One step forward, two steps back seem to apply hear. I can't believe we would back anything the Afghans are doing in light of some of the stunts that are pulled by their president.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  102. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    There really isn't a lot we can do about the laws or culture of other countries. However, what is scary is that these radical religions and cultures are making their way into this country, ignoring what we beileve in.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  103. L.Musa

    Now is the time to be talking to moderates behind the secens in hopes of democratically driving out these religious zealots that are becoming a vocal minority. As a Muslim I believe God/Allah/The Almighty created all human beings equal and no one has the right to impose their will upon others, regardless of faith.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  104. Michele, Sparks NV

    Yes. Through talks and diplomacy we can achieve much, including laws being overturned.

    We need to establish a line of communication that will infuse the idea that women are not property, but humans. Maybe the notion of human rights will percolate enough for these cultures to see that educated and respected women are an asset to their countries. However, do not expect this notion to take a foothold while we stand over them with rifles and are perceived as aggressors.


    April 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  105. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    Wow! Hamid Karzai is a moderate? This is a very sick culture. I won't be going to the Kabul Ritz any time soon.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  106. Brian in Laguna Beach

    Karzai has learned American politics well...do, say and sign anything that will get you elected or reelected...

    April 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  107. Randy from Salt Lake City

    I think in their culture, it's ok to rape a man as well.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  108. Jyoti

    There is no moderate Taliban. It is an oxymoron. Evil is evil. Like weeds they will regrow into savage beasts. One has to strike at the root of evil to eliminate it. All madrassas should be banned by force.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  109. Tom

    Back in the early 80s, the US made it illegal to force sex on your wife with the Greta and John Rideout case in Washington state. The problem is this – if you're legally married and have sex, and there's no sign of a struggle to speak of, these laws are awfully difficult to enforce.

    Sandy, Utah

    April 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  110. Mike Thakkar

    I am not too sure, why Americans are trying to look at all the societies on the globe, with our values.
    Each societies are at the different levels of turning to be a decent human societies. Unless they are literate and reach to a level of understanding the true human value,what ever we try to do is noting more then an eye wash and some thing for self satisfaction.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  111. Rob

    I just dont understand the logic of beating our heads with such nations/cultures..A Leopard cannot change its spots and the Ethiopean his color...

    What good is there in trying to civilize people that have never had any education and are fundamentalists?? We've wasted enough time and lives for a cause that got us no where! Defend ourselves yes..but try to change them?? I dont think!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  112. Cheri

    Only a beast would need a law to guarantee his sexual gratification. Tell them that.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  113. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Dear Jack,

    allow me to give you some background thinking...I have made the suggestion that we need to increase building communications infrastructures in these countries to speed up a change of behavior for people to see more of the rest of the world supporting them! This came to mind when supporting my daughter's boyfriend sharing with us some videos in his science study on Einstein about relativity, space and time where it explains how depending if your sitting in a train or looking at a train passing by the notion of time is different...something along the way! Well, this gave me the idea of we need to increase the notion of time in some other places in the world to catch up! Ideas comes from weird places sometimes!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  114. Dawn Gordon

    I do not want one more American tax dollar to support a country that makes rape legal! It's wrong, wrong wrong!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  115. Jason

    Not our business. Lets focus on the USA first where most rapes are not even reported nor do the victims get justice. In addition, if Afghanistan was the lead world power and decided to impose their morals on a hypothetical third world USA, how would you feel?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  116. Katy

    This Afghan law is truly appalling and it will test the policies and principles of a new, young US Pesident and his administration. Obama has made Afghanistan his war and a centerpiece of his foreign policy. Will he say or do anything about this? Will it impact his approach to Afghanistan or his relationship with Karzai? If it doesn't, Obama will find it harder to earn my vote in 2012 and likely a lot of other women as well.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  117. Cheryl Hamilton

    Moderate is a relative term. Moderate compared to the Taliban we know of prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan is probably still extreme by most Muslim comparisons. The bottom line is that until the male population of any country stops viewing women as a form of property then this sort of "law" can exist. But, then I don't know that we can change the culture of a population. It makes me thankful to be a woman that is a citizen of the U.S.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  118. Mark

    Should the US be backing talks with moderate Taliban? – Absolutely not... this is a radical group of people that will do WHATEVER it takes to follow through with their plans of violence and destruction. Give them an inch, and they will take a mile. They will switch sides just to get closer to the people they want to hurt. it's just like being in the cage with a Lion, just because it's not eating you, doesn't mean it won't the first opportunity that comes up.

    Don't take a step back, the taliban has proven itself again and again with past actions, there is nothing positive that can come out of it. Just my 1.5 cents.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  119. Harry Lime

    How laughable. 'Moderate Taliban'. This is as real as the tooth fairy.
    What about women's rights in all the other Muslim countries?
    Tampa, FL

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  120. Julian

    I believe women will eventually rise up and overthrow the oppressive males in Muslim extremist states if they continue to treat women this way. There is only so much humans, male or female, can take before they revert to a violent primitive nature to protect themselves. Just look at the cases in America of women who were raped by their husbands, who eventually mutilated or killed their husband. It's just a matter of time.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  121. Garitaar

    Refusal to communicate is never fruitful. If we want them to evolve, then we had better start communicating.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  122. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    The US should be getting rid of corrupt officials in city, regional and national government, including the police and the utility ceos. They should also get rid of the poppy fields and start new economic replacements.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  123. frankie

    You can't assume that every member of the Taliban agrees with these laws, after all we see violent disagreements in our own government including members of the same party sometimes. While we might not be able to improve life in Afghanistan by talking to the Taliban, we have no chance at all of improving life in Afghanistan if we don't talk to the Taliban.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  124. shannon

    This is so sad. Rape should always be illegal, against a woman, against a man, it should always be illegal. It's so sad that an entire nation wants to oppress a group of people who is 50% of the population. Thank God for all of the human rights workers tirelessly trying to ensure a fair, safe, and quality life to women the world over.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  125. Beauty Takes Patience

    Jack, the U.S should focus on the caos in this country and I believe Obama Adm. is doing a great job and the U.S is doing a great job so far by not having talks with Taliban on this issue. As bad is it sounds to strip a woman from their rights in that manor; it's their country, their beliefs, so it's should contiue as being their problem. If the U.S speaks to the Afgan gov't about this being an issue, then every other country without a bases equality for women will cry out for help. And there are far too many. Why bother, we have other issues to focus on around the world.

    -Folsom, CA

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  126. Yvonne Koulouthros

    If this law is, in fact, true, words cannot express the disgust, anger, and disbelief I feel. Regarding your question, if the Shia cleric are clearly not the moderate Taliban members with whom Secretary Clinton is potentially planning to convene–i.e. these moderate Taliban members do not advocate such a "rape law"–then such talks between the U.S. and Afghanistan should be the catalyst, among other purposes, for quickly abolishing such a heinous law that offends, hurts, and discriminates women worldwide.
    Yvonne Koulouthros
    Mahwah, NJ

    April 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  127. Farooq

    Yes we should back talks. BUT at the same time, this so called "law" needs to be stopped and stopped now! First of all, in a quote "islamic" country, this idea of rape is totally un-islamic! You cannot rape. It is a fundamental sin. So we have lots of leverage with the Afghans, let's use it and stop this insidious law. Then, we can open up talks with "moderate" Taliban forces. The real key to this crisis is education for the Afghan people. 30+ years of war have devastated their whole society.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  128. Jay Stout

    The U.S. shouldn't be talking to anyone who would support such a law or not prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence and the virtual slavery of women. Are Shia males animals or human beings?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  129. john, san diego

    Hello Mr. Cafferty, I do not think this law would actually be called rape. I dont even think there should be a law covering this subject. If the situation arises where "rape" occurs they should have never been married. Moderate Taliban? What does that mean? The moderates we Americans are calling are guys laying low taking our money, this is the sign of a lost war.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  130. AMG

    This is not an Islamic issue, this is a cultural issue. Islam does not advocate this.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  131. Lyn Lindstrom

    U have got to be kidding me...just the idea of this being an option is an atrocity! In no uncertain terms the US needs to tell the Afghan government NO! And since this now puts all Afghan women in jeopardy, we should place the Afghan government in such a tough neck hold and embarrass them so badly it would straighten up their absurd behavior! Civil diplomacy be damn! When the Afghan shows me civil diplomacy to their own women, their own people , then we can all talk!!!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  132. Walter Estrada

    Its one thing being the breeding ground for terrorism and terrorist thugs, we can help change that through acceptable means. Its another thing when a society cannot comprehend basic human rights. Bullets, bombs, and negotiations will have a difficult time change centuries of set ways. Rape, in no way, shape or form, should legal.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  133. Larry -- Belton TX

    It is a tragedy, but we must understand that their culture, engrained for many 1000s of years, produces a tough way of life. We cannot change them and must secure our own future.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  134. Scott

    Your question phrases this very touchy topic with the phrase, "might legalize rape." The truth is whatever gains are made for women's rights in Afghanistan, need to be made by the Afghan people within the context of their cultural norms. If we start defining what the roles of women and men are in their society, they will see us as imposing our culture onto them, even if we are clearly right and they are clearly wrong, the people of Afghanistan must define for themselves who they are as a people. We need to support the existing government in this process of defining what modern democratic Afghani culture looks like without making them submit to our western definition of what we want that culture to look like.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  135. Gigi

    It goes against our support for human rights. UNLESS there is something more we want.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  136. Josh, MI

    Jack, I'm not sure such a thing as "extreme" or "moderate" exists in a country where 72% of the people in the country can't even read.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  137. Harlann Stewart

    Jack I watch you everyday and I enjoy the comments that you present on your show from real people in the United States and Internationally.

    The question itself can only produce one logical answer...
    -'No, of course not'.
    I do believe that there are ways within the administration that we can diplomatically 'press' different world governments to change acts like this by doing exactly what President Obama is doing now.
    Calling this type of action out in all forms of Media and allowing different countries to draw thier own political conclusions based on that information that the world is hearing about now.

    Thank you and keep up the good work. Love your segment Jack.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  138. Mark

    Also, the law of rape doesnt seem to have much to do with the Taliban... Since when does making it a "law" stop the taliban from doing what they are going to do anyways. Last i knew, blowing yourself, buildings, and senseless killings of others was illegal too. They are going to do what they see is right in accordance to their beliefes and religion... making a law about it isn't going to change anything. If these guys want to rape their wives, they will.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  139. Max Myers

    We need to change our approach to foreign interventions. The change must come from the people not by a foreign power. I'm all about our own security and retaliating against our enemy, but if the Afghan people vote for that kind of law, then why are we still there? Let's work on our policies at home, further our rights and our economy and show to other countries that our way of life is much better. By becoming that shiny city on the hill, students and activists will change their own country and their policies, military force for social change nerver worked and never will...We intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not in Darfur, where there was an actual cry for help. Now more than 300 000 people are dead or displaced.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  140. Fred Boenig

    Gee Jack,
    We supported the Talaban against the Russians, so we could build a pipeline across their country, we told them to drive those godless people out, then we brought in the Bin Laden family to build it. Since our country was formed to give religious freedom, why are we telling people that have had these religious beliefs anything? How long has it been illegal to rape your wife in this country? In the United States, individual states began enacting laws against spousal rape from the 1970's on. By 1993, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have such laws. Currently 17 states and the District of Columbia provide no exemptions from rape laws whatsoever for husbands.

    So lets get off our high horse, we don't have a lot of room to point fingers!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  141. Oregon Wally Las Vegas Nevada

    Here we go again, when are we ever going to learn to mind our own business , we have enough problems of our own. we need to leave this country, and region period. bring ALL our troops home and beef up our UNGARDED BOARDER. no one can change another culcher others have tried for thousands of years , its a no win, we loose lives and money....

    April 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  142. Debbie Corson

    I cannot believe that in the 21st Century I have to explain to my teenage daughters that there is actually a nation, where our government has relations, that is leagalizing rape. Rape. Are you kidding me? I honestly don't know where to start. I cannot fathom the idea of such a ridiculous law. I am a true believer of non-violence, but perhaps this is a way for those that promote violence to get the rest of us onboard? It angers me to the point of disgust and sadness for the world, but expecially the women of Afghanistan. There have been many times where I have felt the United States had gotten into countries where we really had no business. Countries that were different from us and perhaps didn't need U.S. influences. Countries that just might have been fine without us and our democratic ways. However, when there are such atrocities against human rights, our country seems hesitant. This I will never understand. I hope now is the time and President Obama is the person to make a stand and say, "Enough is enough, let's stop this insanity." I mean, what kind of belief system could permit such horrible acts? Clueless and appalled in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  143. kev

    "moderate taliban"? isn't that an oxymoron?

    wouldn't we be better off trying to change the minds of people who aren't moderate?

    any easier solution to afghanistan's violation of human rights would be to allow women to vote.

    this law probably doesn't make much of a difference anyway, since i'm sure that the police over there don't do anyhting about rape cases anyway, especially if it is the husband, and i'm sure that most women probably don't even report their rapes for fear of retaliation and out of shame.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  144. Q

    Any "man" who rapes his wife is neither a man nor a husband.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  145. gerald

    We can't control what the Taliban crazies do. But does our talking to the moderates mean we indorse their insanity? We have to decide once and for all what we can get from them by way of reducing the violence. If the talks help so be it. If they don't we will know how to proceed from then on. Let our experience in Iraq be our guide. Let's face it. Afghanistan and Iraq are both dangerous places. We have to emerge as unscathed as possible if that is at all possible. You can thank George W. Bush for getting us into this mess in the first place.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  146. William Bergmann

    We are defending a culture that we have no real respect for and only find it 'interesting' in the National Geographic sense. The men are cowards when anything involves women. They will kill their own children as an act of 'honor' if they misbehave. The country is frozen in time and needs help for sure but I would not send my kids to fight their battle.
    Maybe we could just export all of the women and children, leaving the men to fight over the sand and religious interpretations. They could then sit around watching dog fights and grown their poppies.
    By the way, when is the last time an Afghan, any Afghan, contributed anything to the betterment of humanity in general?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  147. dejah

    Why is our government even speaking to these animals? If they say it's part of their culture to mutilate their women are we going to okay that, too?

    I agree with the poster above– arm the women, then these pussies who think they can push women around will find out what real fear is.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  148. peter

    Hi Jack,

    Let me see if I get the question......should we be having,"talks" with persons who appear to have all the moral backbone and intellectual compass of cavemen? = No! The fact that these brain dead mysoginists have just LEGALIZED THE RAPE OF WIVES!!!!!!(sorry for yelling), should illustrate how ludicrous it is for all of us in the west to believe it can instill,"democracy" in a country where ALL the power is in the hands of hateful LITTLE men. Our soldiers have died for this abomination of humanity? We need to get the hell out.


    April 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  149. Emeka

    There ain't no right way of doing the wrong thing. The United States need to stop intruding in the internal affairs of other countries. It is this world-police mentality that got us in these mess in the first place. Foreign policy has always been based on national interest – so spreading capitalism disguised as freedom and democracy is resentful. Let Afghanis fight for their own independence just as we did 233 years ago. We need to realize that we can never understand the cultures of others, just as others can NEVER understand why guns are legalized in the US – even though we have the greatest rates of gun violence.

    Emeka, Dearborn Michigan

    April 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  150. donna in colorado springs

    We should negotiate with moderate Taliban ONLY if they commit to support of women's rights, among other things.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  151. judy

    Hi Jack,
    I am not for any rape. I think what happened to women in Afghanistan is
    sad, did you ever heard about what the rules with orthodox Jewish wives, They rape their wives too. Wolf made the comment at this time and age. It happens here in this time and age.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  152. Jay

    I am not exactly sure how those countries woman rights are, however, a law that legalizes rape just shows how ignorant those people are. We have sent troops and spent our tax money to help those people, who I now would like to call savages, yet I don't understand a bit why are we helping them when they have learned nothing!!! U.S shouldn't have been there in the first place, if a president of a country can sign a law like that what else is he capable of?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  153. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The U.S. can talk to the Taliban, al Qaeda, Karzai or anyone else who will listen regarding the rape of women in Afghan and it will fall on deaf ears. We cannot change their interpretation of the Qur'an.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  154. Megan

    @ Scott – Islam does not include the ability to rape your wife. It is a radical sect that interprets the Quran this way which has made these "laws" and incorporated them into the religion.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  155. Ben


    Is there also a law that forces a woman to marry someone? The women of the country can oppose this by simply not getting married. That doesn't help the current wives, but it would be a significant social protest if enough women refused to marry. The young men looking for wives would make sure that the law was changed! Now that's democracy in action.

    Phoenix, Arizona

    April 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  156. phyllis Sanders

    I think this is unthinkable that he would sign this law, if he is doing this for a few votes, he needs to be kick to the curb by the United States, we no longer need any one who will sign a bill like that into law. We should back someone else for President, I don't think we should talk to these Taliban people, if they are going to treat women like animals, even animals need to be treated with care just like every living thing on earth. I think the people of Afghanistan need a leader who will do what is best for them, and try and keep them safe from all harm. I feel very sorry for these poor people of this Country, they deserve so much better after all they have been through, and I sure hope they get it. thank you phyllis in Jackson, Ms

    April 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  157. Rose

    Just let them keep their sick demented messy ways over in their country. They should not even be allowed to even visit our country. The Arabs and African countries have sick evil ways. Is this why things are so bad for them and their countries? WOW

    April 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  158. Chris, Florida

    I think we should support what the majority of the people, men and women, want in their own country. I don't support rape by anymeans, but aside from assuring people have a free and equal democracy we should mind our own buisness. We have our own problems.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  159. Los

    First of all, why does this article continuously use the word "rape", knowing how that particular words such as this automatically negatively creates a mental picture of a woman being sexually victimized by a man. I'm sure that the actual law doesn't us the word "rape", so why is this article using such words as if shaking and/or knodding the head while speaking to lead a person's way of thinking. Even though I know that most Eastern cultures' laws and customs are based on their religious beliefs, our judgements and opinions will be too biased and unjust for them to accept as fairness to their rules. Nevertheless, rape is rape no matter how you look at it!! I vote no!!!!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  160. Thomas

    It is important to keep in mind that up until 1991, English law recognized an exemption for rape within marriage as well.

    This does not excuse the Afghani legislatures, but rather shows the shameful truth: that the decriminalization of marital rape is not limited to Afghanistan or the Islamic world.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  161. Amanda

    First of all, I believe that the term "moderate Taliban" is an oxymoron. Their ideology is Islamic fundamentalism, so I don't think they can be called moderate. Having said that, today's Taliban is an insurgency movement working against Afghanistan's government. Why would we talk to an extremist insurgency group that is not affiliated with the country's actual government? This seems crazy to me. Granted I do not have a strong background in politics or world affairs; I am just calling it as I see it.

    Regarding the rape issue, we should absolutely not be backing talks with the Taliban so long as rape is legal in Afghanistan. The stated goal of our missions in the Middle East has been to bring civil and human rights to the area (whether or not you agree that that has been the real mission is another topic for a different discussion). Legalizing rape is violating the rights of 50% of the population. Also, I am going to propose a slippery slope argument: if rape is legalized with the context of marriage, how long until it is legalized altogether, or at least tolerated (if it is not tolerated already).

    I would certainly hope that the USA, which stands up for civil and human rights, would not entertain talks with a country that legalizes rape.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  162. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    Probably not in the public light, maybe do behind closed doors, just like with the other shady organizations.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  163. Amanda, Riverton Wyoming

    It wasn't all that long ago when women were treated in many ways the same way in America. My humble thanks to all the women who faught hard to be treated as equals rather than property. Thanks Mom!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  164. Howard

    Gee.....how shocking. Another screwed up law/tradition/right of passage to come out of a middle least muslim country. Just like we're fighting for the Iraqi's who stone their daughters to death for death for dating the the wrong religion.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  165. jon

    The exact article of the law that has us interpreting it as the "legalization of rape" reads close to verbatim as "...(the wife) is bound to preen for her husband as and when he desires".

    Is this the legalization of rape? Legalization of rape within marriage? Or not rape at all, if the word "preen" is interpreted correctly?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  166. T

    How different is the U.S.? Even though it may illegal to rape one's wife in the U.S., I'm guessing the chance at successfully prosecuting a husband who does rape his wife is pretty darn close to zero. So how are we any better? We just think we are.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  167. Julius Lariviere

    We finally see the true colours of Karzai... he is just as much of a hardliner as the Taliban are, the approval of this law clearly shows his beliefs and values. American and other NATO troops have wasted 8yrs over there.. we wanted change and we got it, from bad to worse. We knew where the Taliban stood on policies like these, and now we are finding out that it doesnt matter which group has power in Afghanistan, they all have extreme Muslim views. All those NATO deaths are for nothing. I used to think that were moderates within the Taliban, but now I will very shocked if any groups, Taliban or otherwise call themselves "moderates"... I would sumrise "moderate"
    meaning lesser degrees of oppression and intolerance.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  168. Ed Woodbridge,Va.

    Ever since the Vietnam War, the United States has been trying to shove Democracy down the throats of different foreign nations, and Afghanistan is no exception! This plan did not work in Vietnam and we have a black wall with 58,000 dead Americans to prove it, yet for reasons unknown to many Americans, the politicians insist that we send more troops to a country (Afghanistan) that the might of the Russian Empire could not conquer in the 80's! Sadly we never learn from our mistakes, and a few years down the road it seems that another part od the D.C. landscape will be set aside for a memorial to the Americans killed in Afghanistan! To all you politicians on Capitol Hill, do the right thing for a change and get our troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, because another American soldier dying is not worth it! Section # 60 at Arlington National Cemetery is filling up fast with young men and women who paid the ultimate price in both of these countries!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  169. Kaitlin Thaney

    Tolerance for the rape of women is but one of many practices of the Taliban that I find abhorrent and barbaric, and should not be condoned in any way by civilized nations. But let's be clear here: the policy of the United States is not designed to condone such practices or to appease extremists. It's a shrewd policy designed to exploit internal divisions and political disagreements among the very groups that constitute the Taliban to our advantage. Even if we only partially co-opt certain elements of the "Taliban", we weaken their movement militarily and politically from within. The direct result will be fewer American soldiers dying, fewer safe havens for terrorists, and the reducing the risk of an Afghanistan / Pakistan regional melt-down. Is that too Machiavellian for Americans? No, I think most Americans will understand that it's just smart policy.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  170. jim Toronto

    Time to pull out!... I can't imagine any government in the Coalition with troops in Afghanistan supporting such an ill fated middle ages regime who think that rape is ok and women should be treated like animals. All troops should be on a transport plane out of there immediately if not sooner. Do you think for one minute the men and especially women in uniform are willing to lay down their life or parts of their bodies for such a backwards government? Absolutely not!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  171. JD

    Jennifer...not when 50% of your population can't vote....a woman's 'right' to vote in Afganistan is like saying blacks had the right to vote in the South during the Jim Crow era.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  172. Ann F. Oakes

    My daughter in law is an officer in the U.S. Navy. I also have 2 grand- daughters. Ifind it to be a terrible injustice that she and other brave military women may be asked to give up their livesfor such an obvious act of brutality by the Afgan govrernment

    April 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  173. Michael H., Albuquerque, NM

    It wasn't very long ago that American law had the same attitude about marriage as the Taliban. It was only through reason with moderate law makers that things have progressively changed.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  174. Ann Maryland

    As I recall, Hillary Clinton won plaudits in 1995 for asserting that women's rights were human rights at the Beijing Women's Conference. Why haven't we heard from her about this issue? Why isn't she condemning this law in the most implacable terms? How do you explain to American women that our sons and daughters have given their lives so that Afghan women can be legally raped by their husbands? All of this is very ironic, because Afghanistan is one of the few countries that has ratified CEDAW without any reservations whatsoever–which means they have formally committed themselves to oppose just such laws! Scholars are now finding that there is a very strong relationship between how secure women are in a particular nation and how aggressive that nation is. If you want peace in Afghanistan, improve the status of women, and stop pandering to those who sell women's rights for votes and/or money. Hillary, where are you????

    April 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  175. cynthia from bennington vermont

    absolutely. I hate the idea but these people have been so oppressed over the centuries they can't get out of the dark ages. they cling to the only cultural norms they know. it will take baby steps to bring them into the modern world. let's not forget it wasn't so long ago that a rape victim in the u.s. was often projected as someone who "asked for it" and abortion rights for women who are victims of rape or incest are still under siege. engaging taliban that are willing to talk , listen and offered rewards for good behavior rather than punishment for bad may offer such an impoverished and oppressed country a road to hope and positive change.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  176. Brian

    i cant believe that men and woman in the military have died in canada and the us and for what?! so men can leagely rape woman!!?? this is just crazy. it is time for the men and woman of the military come home.
    toronto canada

    April 2, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  177. Michael Hsu

    Hey, Cafferty! News flash... It's not rape if the husband does it. Never has been, never will...

    April 2, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  178. Umer

    There is no such thing as a " moderate taliban." People who are not willing to help themselves should not be helped by others.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  179. Daryl

    I am reading through the comments and I cannot believe the ignorance of culture that runs through here.

    People listen the culture is different, really different, the plan is not to create a country with the rights and freedoms we are giving away daily in the USA, it is to stop the country from being a safe haven for terrorists.

    They will eventually through time reach that stage as other countries have, but there are still many places where women do not have equal rights. I am not saying I agree but I understand. They have made some progress, but they have groups that want to be represented in the Government.

    This is what to expect more of for the people saying to negotiate with the Taliban, moderate or militant. Then you whine the US has bad foreign policy, now suck it up and get used to it because this is the New Administration's policies, welcome to a brave new world.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  180. Dutchie

    Hi Jack,

    There is NO way that the US government should be negotiating with the so called moderate wing of the Taliban. If there were such a thing as a moderate Taliban, why are we not hearing from them? Especially, moderate Taliban men! The US should walk away and no longer support Karzai. I am disgusted with this law and if I lived there, I would rather be dead than live under those extreme conditions.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  181. James Rios

    While we are far from perfect we should definitely be on the horn talking to Karzai to repeal the law. Sec. of State Clinton should also be in Pres. Obama's ear about getting the Afghans to repeal the law especially since we (the U.S.) are going through all the trouble of trying to bring forward that nation to the 21st Century otherwise, whats the point of trying to defeat the Taliban and the likes if they are just going to vote those ideologies into law?

    Which makes one wonder; where is their judicial branch in all of this?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  182. Jay Stout

    The U.S. shouldn't be talking to anyone who would support such a law or refuse to prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence and the virtual slavery of women. Are Shia males animals or human beings? They're certainly not men.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  183. Gregg Graison

    Don't Americans understand that there will never be a democracy in these countries as we understand democracy ! There will never be a seperation of church and state ! How about going to Saudi and watching a reported criminal get a hand cut off or their head ! You never see pictures of that in our media ! Wake up America. Gregg NYC

    April 2, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  184. Kristi in Chgo

    These husbands look at this as a contractual right of marriage, not as a violation of his wife's rights. They figure (as men from our country have in the past) that women waived their personal freedom to say no when they agreed to marry. Compound that with the fact that many women are forced into the contractual marriage by their families, so they never wanted this man to begin with. Some of these women have no rights ever. Sad sad sad. Even sadder still is the fact that this can't and won't be the sole issue upon which US bases relationship with Afghanistan.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  185. Carrie in Seattle, WA

    OK, so here's the deal: Our country has 'meddled' in the affairs of this country before, taken things just to the point where a tentative sort of peace could be achieved, and then failed in the end game. I don't think we have any right to dictate their laws or beliefs to them, but if we could simply finish the process this time, and help set up some infrastructure so that more of them are educated and fewer of them are desperate, it is likely that the civilization will evolve as a whole, ending this sort of practice on it's own, over time. Furthermore, it would likely do so without them fighting it tooth and nail as some sort of godless rule imposed upon them by a nation of unbelievers.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  186. roy

    Once again we are reminded how uncivilized the muslim world is. They constantly state that theirs is a religon of peace, yea right, they are peacefull as long you agree with them. This proves that democracy for democracy sake is wrong. These people act like savages and then wonder why the rest of the world looks at them with disdain.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  187. Aaron

    Why does it matter, if we had that law until the 40's? Lets focus on the country that is suffering, because of that horrible law. we also had slavery and many other horrible laws. let us take action and not allow this. why are our troops there? if we are not making the right steps to civilize that place. everyone deserves to be safe.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  188. Karen - Nashville TN

    Jack, we can’t force our values on other societies simply because we disagree with them, even when they are morally repugnant to us. Besides, when it comes to domestic violence, we should clean up our own backyard first. And yes, we should be talking with our enemies as well as our friends, because like it or lump it, we all inhabit the same planet.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  189. inLA

    Rape? Yeah, and what's your point? MANY Muslims and their "leaders" still condone "female circumcision", i.e., barbaric, ignorant torturing/disfigurement of women's bodies. No one seems to be wailing about that lovely practice right at this moment. As if it's gone away! Muslilm men are worse than cavemen in their view of women. And so many women seem so willing to submit. Like the doh dohs voluntarily wearing headscarves in this country. And they all say "Islam is peace!" Oh, really?????????????????? I guess as long as all their women folk submit to everything and anything they decide to dish out. "Moderate Taliban?" Isn't than an oxymoron?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  190. Carol

    You are too soft on this one, John. It isn't simply legalized rape. It is perpetual sexual slavery, because the rights to a woman's body have been legally designated to her husband instead of to herself.

    Let's call a spade a spade.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  191. Nash

    U.S. experiences more rapes than any other country does. Rape is a serious problem in the United States today. It is 4 times higher than that of Germany, 13 times higher than that of England and 20 times higher than that of Japan. So stop acting crony when you have the same problem in a far bigger magnitude in your own backyard... no in your your own very homes u hypocrites!!!!!! Stop blaming Islam for this. The law may or not be right – Let them decide for their own as one of the commentators already said that ppl have different ideas of rights and wrongs and taboos depending on cultures. Who gave you the right to act like a Big Brother????

    April 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  192. Fatima

    Look at the Taliban's track record in Afghanistan and what do you see? The systematic denial of human rights to women, yes, HUMAN RIGHTS, like the integrity of one's own body to be free from assault and the freedom to move about by one's own will, by conservative fundamenalist muslims in not only Afghanistan but Saudi Arabia, another US ally should offend everyone's sense of justice. The notion of a "moderate" Taliban has been used alot recently by the Obama Administration. I'm a strong supporter of our president, but I am very very skeptical that there is such a thing. It's going to be a very tricky policy to work and I fear that we will be appeasing a bunch of barbaric animals.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  193. Mary R. Frank

    It's one thing to "talk" with moderate members of the Taliban. It's another thing to pay for that talk by enabling the further sexual enslavement of women through fear of standing up against such policies. Any talks that don't include honest and public opposition to such feudal laws only make us look over-accommodating and will lend credence to the continued inhumane treatment of Afghani women. "Our" talk always needs to include continual advocacy for standards of democracy that define and promote equality for women and minorities.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  194. Frank

    It is not surprising that Afghanistan has passed this law. The current interpretation of Quran has similar views and our other aliies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have similar laws. Even Muslim laws in India (there is a separate civil law) allow for the same. This issue is part of the place of womens right in current prevalent islamic culture. There is a need for reform in Islamic societies. It is unfortunate that western countries have accepted the positions of the muslim countries and it is even more unfortunate the muslim populations worldwide are doing very little to reform their religion.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  195. Konya B

    How can we allow this? Why are we over there fighting if laws like this are allowed?
    God/Allah help those women

    April 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  196. Sylvain from Canada

    Isn't funny to see the results of imposing democracy on other countries?

    Here's a scary twist on democracy ; What would happen if all the world's citizens, through the UN, would have to vote and adopt a single religion that would replace all others?

    With Islam (19.7%, according to the Vatican) just surpassing Catholics (17.4%), we'd have to find a local Mosqué to spend our sunday afternoon!!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  197. kathleen

    There's no such thing as a "moderate" Taliban. Those men are horrible and Hillary should not give them the time of day. I'm surprised they would even consider talking with her anyway, given that she's a woman. If I were an Afghan woman I would get on the next plane leaving the country.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  198. kris

    US women are raped everyday by friends, co-workers or acquaintences and made to feel responsible for what happened to them. We need to get off our high horses and take care of our own before we condemn an entire ethnic group. Clean house first...

    April 2, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  199. CJ

    The fact that this is even a question in America goes to show just how much work is left to do to achieve women's rights everywhere in the world. Appalling. Especially in light of the fact that most of these girls–yes, girls–did not even choose their husbands!

    April 2, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  200. res45

    Where have all your people been this isn't new get your heads out of the sand an pay attention to whats going on around you,legal rape,honor killings,females can't receive education or go to school just to mention a few thing. This isn't just happening in Afghanistan women have very few rights in most Muslim countries. As Laurie form KS mentioned the culture is already in in the US.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  201. Craig - NJ

    "Mike – Houston: Moderate Taliban members? That’s like trying to talk to a moderate Nazi."

    This statement is dead on. I couldn't agree with you more.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  202. Michelle

    Americans have ignored the raping of women and children for years in Darfur, what makes this anymore appalling?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  203. Max

    Should we back the Afghan government? No. We should bring our troops home and spend whatever money we WAIST over there on creating new jobs in the United States. We borrow money from China and sacrifice our soldiers to go fight an endless war, which has no results. Women were opressed under the taliban, they still are under the Karzai government.

    I wonder why people don't express more outrage over this issue. After all, Americans still get killed there and we spent more money on this war than on AIG's bailout.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  204. Chuck

    Any significant condemnation of this from the Muslim community? In any country? No? People need to think about what the real issue is here.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:55 pm |