Gulnaz is an Afghan woman who was raped. For reporting it, she was sentenced to three years in prison. Her baby a child of the rape -- cries in the background. Her punishment for appealing her sentence was that it was increased to 12 years. She has been in prison for two and a half years, and her baby is with her.

The EU commissioned a documentary examining the way Afghanistan treats victims of rape. Then it decided not to release it lest it jeopardize relations with Afghanistan. There was a flurry of publicity last week, which led Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to pardon her.

A condition was set that she must marry her rapist, becoming, it appears, his second wife.

This is how Afghanistan treats its women.

A hundred thousand American soldiers are risking their lives every day to protect this nation.

Osama bin Laden is dead. If we leave, as we should, some say there will be civil war.

If you ask me, there is already civil war against the women of Afghanistan.

No one can say with certainty how many women like Gulnaz are sitting in prison or afraid to report their victimization, knowing that if they do, they will be imprisoned, and if they complain about it, they will be imprisoned even longer.

America must protect itself from terrorism. But bin Laden is dead. Every day, brave young Americans give their lives not to protect us from terrorism, but to protect the people of Afghanistan from one another.


I have long believed that in so many fundamental ways you can judge a country by how it treats its women. I don't expect Afghanistan to turn around and support rape crisis centers in every city. Currently, the only hope for women in Gulnaz's position is to find refuge in one of the secret safe houses that women have risked their lives to create for other women.

Why are we spending billions of dollars to build a country that treats its women this way?

For many reasons, the United States should withdraw from Afghanistan and focus its efforts on fighting terrorists who threaten us, rather than nation building. We can't afford it. No one even can say for certain how many trillions we have spent when the hidden costs of contract soldiers and support are taken into account. No one can explain to me why it is worth American lives if it is civil war and not terrorism that we are fighting against.

But if there are any remaining doubts, Gulnaz's story should be their answer.

I don't expect Afghanistan to adopt our system of an independent national judiciary, of life tenure and a civic faith in the rule of law. To try would almost certainly be counterproductive. But I cannot sit by silently as we support a system of injustice, whether administered by trial judges or the U.S.-supported president.

Gulnaz deserves better. And so do the 100,000 Americans who are risking their lives to protect and preserve those who terrorize their sisters and daughters.