NARRATION: There is an upcoming parliamentary election, the campaign trail is a dangerous choice.
NARRATION: Karokhail, up for reelection, is the only woman running in her hotly contested district of Kabul.
SHINKAI: How are you? Are you well?
NARRATION: Before a key rally, she meets with her campaign advisors to hone her message.
SHINKAI: Ultimately, all I can do is offer my service. That’s within my abilities.
WHITE BEARDED MAN: I have an idea for a slogan. “My word and my service: determination and courage.” The two go together.
SHINKAI VO: At first, I was not sure whether I should go into politics. Considering who was already in office, I feared I might not be able to get much done. But my friends insisted, “No, this is the most important time for you to go into parliament.”
SHINKAI OC: How are you? Is everything OK?
NARRATION: Karokail has worked hard to gain the respect of these men.
SHINKAI: You want to get the support of the men and get their votes. Because most of these men also make decisions for their wives to whom they should vote. You have to convince them to support women. Are you well?
SHINKAI: We need to elect the sort of individuals who will truly put Afghanistan back on its feet, little by little, control its own security and make its own decisions.
NARRATION: representatives from 70 nations will gather in Kabul for a conference hosted by Karzai – demonstrating their support for his expanding role. Hundreds of millions of dollars are about to be channeled to the Karzai government for both security and development. But in the last year alone 1 billion dollars has been lost to corruption.
NARRATION: The Afghan women's network wants to make sure that new funds go to the programs and policies that Afganistan needs most …and that women are directly involved in the decision-making. Karzai's support has proven unreliable, so they’re lobbying the international community to get women into the Kabul conference.
NARRATION: Hasina Safi and her colleagues turn to U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry for help.
AMBASSADOR EIKENBERRY: Please have a seat, everyone. Great, ok.
NARRATION: Eikenberry, who has been under political fire for questioning Karzai’s suitability as a partner, now promotes Karzai’s conference.
AMBASSADOR EIKENBERRY: So, this conference is such a great step forward for the new Afghanistan. That in 2002, right after the fall of the Taliban, who could have imagined that the government of Afghanistan, here in Kabul, representing all the Afghan people, would be hosting a conference like this.
NARRATION: The meeting pays off – somewhat. With Ambassador Eikenberry’s help, the women are to send a representative who will have exactly three minutes to address the conference.
NARRATION: Palwasha Hassan, Shinkai Karokhail’s sister, was chosen by the afghan women’s network to speak for them.
PALWASHA: As political and security strategies are carried out, all actors must remember and respect the centrality of people’s rights. Hassan insists that for peace to take hold everyone in society must be protected.
PALWASHA: Critically, women’s rights and achievements must not be compromised in any peace negotiations or accords.
NARRATION: Hassan is the first Afghan woman ever to address the world from an afghan stage.
PALWASHA: Women’s experiences of both war and peace building must be recognized in the peace process.
NARRATION: But the world doesn’t seem to hear her. At the end of the conference neither the us nor the international community stipulate that women must take part in rebuilding the fractured nation. …A nation that is shaken by reminders of Taliban justice.
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