The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan said on Wednesday that it fully supported the Afghan government and organizations in celebrating the '16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.'
"This international campaign to bring increased awareness and activism for women's issues began Nov. 25, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and will conclude on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day," ISAF said in a website posting.
The statement quoted ISAF Commander Gen. John Allen as saying that the foreign coalition forces "support this important campaign and all efforts to bring girls and women better security in their lives."
"ISAF fully supports the Afghan government in creating better and safer lives for Afghan women - more opportunities for Afghan girls to attend school safely, and more opportunities in business, government and education for Afghan women," Gen. Allen said.
He noted that reducing and eliminating gender-based violence is the purpose of the 16 Days campaign, stressing that violence against women is a tragedy wherever and whenever it occurs.
Incidentally, Gen. Allen had spoken earlier this year about the future vision for Afghan women, saying: "We cannot speak about the future of Afghanistan without talking about half of the Afghan population - Afghan women - and the vital role that Afghan women are playing in paving the path toward the bright future that we all seek for this great country."
Currently, there are over 104,900 foreign troops from more than 48 countries in Afghanistan fighting Taliban insurgents in the land-locked country. The U.S. remains the single biggest contributor to the coalition force, with 68,000 soldiers on the ground.
The U.S. and other allied nations involved in the Afghan mission are currently making serious efforts to get the Afghan security forces ready and capable of handling the country's security before the planned withdrawal of coalition troops by the end of 2014.
ISAF has already begun the process of entrusting security responsibilities of several provinces to Afghan forces. However, there are wide concerns about the ability of Afghan security forces to counter the Taliban insurgency without the same level of foreign military assistance and presence.
by RTT Staff Writer
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