Afghan Women Stare Down Karzai

Several hundred women, many holding pictures of murdered relatives, took to the streets of Kabul to demand that President Hamid Karzai purge anyone connected to corruption, war crimes, or the Taliban from his government. Face hidden by a burka, the protest leader called the women "very brave" because "to be a woman in Afghanistan and an activist can mean death." The leader, who called herself Lakifa, said that many women were afraid to demand that the authorities account for the disappearances and deaths of family members during the 30 years of war that have plagued the country. In a rare display of men allowing women to lead, about 500 men followed the protest group in support. President Karzai, whose reelection was marred by ballot-stuffing, is under increasing pressure to remove anyone linked to corruption from his cabinet, which he is due to announce next week.