Since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, Afghanistan has received billions of dollars in aid from Canada and other foreign governments. While assistance programs typically are billed as a means of winning the hearts and minds of the people by lifting them out of poverty, many have the unintended side effect of empowering women and introducing them to a lifestyle that would be unthinkable under the Taliban.
I know this to be true because I have witnessed it many times during my travels to Afghanistan.
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Originally published in the National Post on the 3rd of January, 2011.