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A Broader Definition of Security in Post-2014 Afghanistan

by Catherine Powell
U.S. Marines lower their flag during a handover ceremony, as the last U.S. Marines unit and British combat troops end their Afghan operations, in Helmand, Afghanistan, October 26, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Omar Sobhani ). U.S. Marines lower their flag during a handover ceremony, as the last U.S. Marines unit and British combat troops end their Afghan operations, in Helmand, Afghanistan, October 26, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Omar Sobhani ).

Earlier this month, the United States and NATO lowered the flags over their mission in Kabul in the first of two ceremonies that mark the end of the international combat mission in Afghanistan. Over the next few weeks, foreign troops in Afghanistan will be transitioning to a training and support role.

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Despite Pakistan School Attack, Malala’s Dream “Will Never Be Defeated”

by Catherine Powell
Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from a military run school that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Paksitan, December 16, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Khuram Parvez). Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from a military run school that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Paksitan, December 16, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Khuram Parvez).

This morning, Pakistani Taliban militants armed with guns and explosives stormed a school in Peshawar. After an eight-hour battle with security forces, over 140 students and teachers were dead. This terrorist attack is the largest Pakistan has seen since 2007—when 134 people were killed at a rally for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. However, it is also part of a larger trend of Taliban attacks on Pakistani schools, school children, and teachers.

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Lady Health Workers in Pakistan: On the Front Line and Under Fire

by Guest Blogger for Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A polio vaccinator administers polio vaccine drops to a boy while a colleague takes notes nearby in Karachi, Pakistan, October 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Akhtar Soomro). A polio vaccinator administers polio vaccine drops to a boy while a colleague takes notes nearby in Karachi, Pakistan, October 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Akhtar Soomro).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Maxine Builder, a research associate for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.  

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Behind the Numbers: Security, Stability, and the Afghan Economy

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A police officer is seen through the cracked window of a vehicle near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on November 27, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohammad Ismail). A police officer is seen through the cracked window of a vehicle near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on November 27, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohammad Ismail).

As Afghanistan looks toward its future, with a new president at the helm and the U.S. military presence drawing down, security remains among the country’s most daunting challenges going forward. Yet the growth of the country’s economy and political protections for Afghan women are also cause for concern for a large number of Afghans.

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Where Airstrikes Fall Short, the West Can Still Act to End Violence Against Women

by Guest Blogger for Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A Shiite Muslim girl takes part in a candlelight protest against the ongoing conflict in Iraq, in New Delhi, India, July 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee). A Shiite Muslim girl takes part in a candlelight protest against the ongoing conflict in Iraq, in New Delhi, India, July 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Christina Asquith, a journalist who has covered women’s rights in the Middle East for ten years and the author of Sisters in War: A Story of Love, Family and Survival in the New Iraq.

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Yazidi Slave Markets Just the Latest Atrocity in the Syrian Conflict

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carries a Kurdish Syrian refugee girl to the first aid tent after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, September 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Murad Sezer). A member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carries a Kurdish Syrian refugee girl to the first aid tent after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, September 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Murad Sezer).

This week, reports of Yazidi women forced into marriage, raped, and sold as slaves to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters have spurred horror and outrage around the world. Human Rights Watch reports that these captives, some as young as ten or twelve, have been abducted from their families and been beaten into submitting to marriage to their captors. Read more »

Viewing the U.S.–Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement Through a Gender Lens

by Catherine Powell
Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham sign the bilateral security agreement in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohammad Ismail). Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham sign the bilateral security agreement in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohammad Ismail).

After almost a year of stalemate, Afghanistan finally signed a renewed bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the United States last Tuesday. The document, which allows 9,800 U.S. troops and 2,000 NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan in a training and advisory capacity after the end of 2014, was approved by newly-minted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Read more »

UN Human Rights Council Calls for a Mission to Investigate ISIS Violations in Iraq

by Catherine Powell
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, in Iraq, August 11, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Rodi Said). Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, in Iraq, August 11, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Rodi Said).

In the midst of an otherwise depressing news cycle on Iraq, the recent resolution out of Geneva from the UN Human Rights Council is a positive note. The resolution, adopted on Monday, requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to dispatch a fact finding mission to Iraq to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and associated terrorist groups. Read more »

Prosecuting Sexual Violence Offenders after Conflict

by svonwendel
A Tutsi woman passes between a guerilla from the Rwandan Patriotic Front on the left and a wounded man on the right, Rwanda, May 1994 (Courtesy Reuters). A Tutsi woman passes between a guerilla from the Rwandan Patriotic Front on the left and a wounded man on the right, Rwanda, May 1994 (Courtesy Reuters).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Sigrid von Wendel, who edits the Development Channel.

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The Status of Women and Girls in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Catherine Powell and Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the Islamic State-controlled northern province of Raqqa, Iraq, March 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Stringer). Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the Islamic State-controlled northern province of Raqqa, Iraq, March 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Stringer).

This post is by Catherine Powell, fellow for CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy Program; and Amelia Wolf, research associate for CFR’s Center for Preventive Action and International Institutions and Global Governance Program.

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