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March 10, 2005 — In the first report from her recent visit to Afghanistan to observe the status of women and children’s rights and health, and to assess the US-led military occupation of Afghanistan, a leader in American support for Afghan women will tell the hidden story of the Afghan situation, and a new film documenting prisoner abuse will be shown at a Code Pink-endorsed event in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Sonali Kolhatkar, co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, Pasadena, CA, and host of Uprising on KPFK, Pacifica radio, will speak on the terrible conditions still facing Afghan women, and the lack of progress on education, employment, poverty reduction, and warlord domination in Afghanistan. Kolhatkar found that main-stream media coverage of Afghanistan has painted an extremely misleading portrait of Afghan women’s "liberation" and the advent of democracy. She returned just a few days ago from a two-week trip to the capital, Kabul, and Herat and Farah Provinces to interview Afghan journalists, lawyers, refugees and activists, as well as observe the visionary aid projects of RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. RAWA was founded in 1979 to fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan, and now holds peaceful demonstrations,
publishes information, runs hospitals, orphanages and schools in Afghanistan and in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan.

The event, taking place at Immanuel Presbyterian Church on March 12 from 1-4 p.m., features the documentary "Taliban Country," which narrates the differences in what an embedded and an independent reporter can see, and which prompted official inquiry. Filmmaker Carmela Baranowska spent three weeks embedded with U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, then returned in secret to the area. Baranowska will speak on the abuse of Afghans at the hands of US soldiers.

The event includes a slide show and music. Read more here.

About AWM: The Afghan Women’s Mission is a non-profit organization working in solidarity with RAWA. The mission aims to empower Afghan women by improving the education and health facilities of Afghan refugees, many of whom are women and children. http://www.afghanwomensmission.org

About RAWA: RAWA’s objective is to involve Afghan women in social and political activities, to acquire women’s human rights and contribute to the establishment of a democratic and secular government in Afghanistan. Despite the suffocating political atmosphere and continuing problems in Afghanistan, RAWA is involved in widespread activities including education, health and job building. More information about RAWA’s humanitarian work is available on their website, http://www.rawa.org.

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