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Afghan Lawmakers Block Women's Rights Law

Members of the Afghan legislature are seen at the parliament in Kabul (file photo).
Afghanistan's parliament has delayed action on a measure aimed at protecting women’s rights.

Activists say the move Saturday is a blow to progress made in women's rights in the conservative Muslim country since the ousting of the Taliban from power. The Taliban observed strict Islamic rule that banned Afghan women from attending school or participating in most public activity.

Conservative lawmakers postponed the ratification Saturday, insisting that portions that are, in their words, "against Islamic law" be removed.

The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women took effect in 2009 by a decree by President Hamid Karzai. A female lawmaker brought the measure before parliament to prevent the potential reversal of the law by a future president.

The law criminalizes forced marriage and child marriage. It also bans "baad," the traditional practice of exchanging women and girls to settle disputes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.