01/30/2008, 00.00
AFGHANISTAN
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More than 500 Afghan women demonstrate against female abduction

The protest was held yesterday in Kandahar. The demonstrators, many of them wearing burqas, are asking for the liberation of Cyd Mizell, an aid worker who was kidnapped on Saturday with her driver. No one has yet come forward to claim responsibility for the kidnapping.

Kandahar (AsiaNews/Agencies) - More than 500 Afghan women have demonstrated in Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, for the liberation of the American humanitarian worker Cyd Mizell, kidnapped on January 26 together with her driver, Abdul Hadi.  The authorities say that no one has claimed responsibility and there are no suspects.  The two were taken in Kandahar by a group of armed men.

Saturday's protest was a courageous gesture in an Afghanistan where women are still waiting for the full recognition of their rights, above all if one takes into account the traditionalist, closed, and violent climate that reigns in the city, a former Taliban stronghold.

Rona Tareen, the director of the Kandahar Woman's Association, says "Her [Mizell's] kidnapping is against our culture and tradition. We demand the kidnappers free her immediately". The American aid worker has been living for three years in Kandahar, where she works for the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation, teaching English in the schools.

Another woman, Bibi Nanai, tells the Associated Press that she took part in the demonstration with the agreement of her husband.  The demonstrators, many of them wearing burqas, gathered yesterday in a prayer room, where they launched an appeal to the government to work for Mizell's release.

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