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Change is slow in Afghan society

Gulnaz's case shows that it is difficult to get rid of deep-seated customs

Gulf News

For all of the progress Afghanistan has made in the past decade, there still remains an unwillingness to fully embrace real change across all areas of society. The case of Gulnaz, an Afghan woman, however, underlines the need for real and meaningful reforms. Gulnaz was jailed for adultery after being raped, then pardoned and set free. But now her brothers are threatening to kill her and, with nowhere else to turn, faces the prospect of having to marry her attacker — her cousin's husband.

During its reign, the Taliban fostered a society where the rights of women did not exist — they were but mere chattels of their husbands, property of their family, to be uneducated and treated as second-class citizens before the law. In the past decade, foreign governments have poured billions of dollars into Afghanistan to provide schools, better roads, new bridges and wells — all with the intention of bringing Afghan society into the modern age.

Despite all of the time, effort and funds, the case of Gulnaz shows that it's nigh impossible to change deep-seated customs. It also shows the work that the government in Kabul has before it.

Gulnaz must to be treated with all of the compassion and rights her sad situation demands.