In March of this year, Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, endorsed a “code of conduct” in Afghanistan, which, among other things, permits husbands to beat their wives - under certain circumstances.
Karzai's endorsment of the aforementioned "code of conduct" was viewed by [human rights] activists as an effort - on the part of Karzai - to comply with President Obama's directive to reconcile with the Taliban in preparation for the planned withdrawal of Nato troops from Afghanistan.
Activists expressed anger that the gains they had achieved in women's rights, since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, were being used as a bargaining chip with the Taliban.
"It sends a really frightening message that women can expect to get sold out in this process [of negotiating a so-called 'peace' pact with the Taliban]," said one activist.
Which brings us to a related development:
A 30-year-old woman and two of her children were beheaded in Afghanistan [on Tuesday], in what appeared to be the latest in a rapidly growing trend of so-called honour killings.
Police said they suspected the woman Serata's divorced husband, barged into her house in the capital of Ghazni province and murdered her, as well as their eight-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter.
"The children saw the killer take their mother's head off, so he killed them too," a local policeman said.
Activists say there has been a sharp rise in violent attacks on women in Afghanistan over the past year.
They blame president Hamid Karzai's waning attention to women's rights as his government prepares for the exit of most foreign troops in 2014 and seeks - [in compliance with President Obama's directive] - to negotiate with the Taliban, Afghanistan's former Islamist rulers.
Excluding Serata's beheading, there have been 16 cases of "honour killings" recorded across the country over March and April... This compares to the 20 cases recorded for all of last year, said commissioner Suraya Subhrang, blaming increased insecurity and weak rule of law for the sharp rise... There have never been more than 20 cases a year.
Serata divorced her husband Mohammad Arif, 38, a year ago after enduring almost a decade of domestic abuse... Officers investigating the case described it as an honour killing, a phrase used to describe the murder of mostly women and girls accused of besmirching a family's reputation.
Afghan women have won back basic rights in education, voting and work since the austere rule of the Taliban was toppled just over a decade ago, although fear now mounts that freedoms will be traded away [by Obama & Co.] as Kabul and Washington seek talks with the Islamist group to secure a [so-called] "peaceful" end to the war.