Letter: Afghan outrage

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The Independent Culture
Afghan outrage

Sir: I was relieved to see that, although much of the media has tired of covering Afghanistan, at least one newspaper is still concerned with the outrages implicitly committed by Western governments, as well as the Taliban, against the Afghan people ("How the children of Kabul are sacrificed to sexual politics of the West", 16 January).

That the Foreign Minister's extra-marital affairs receive more coverage than foreign affairs is a travesty in itself. That the Government can invoke cultural assumptions (which it neglects to live up to itself) ahead of the lives of millions of women, men and children is tragic.

Countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Sierra Leone are not "blessed" with democratic faculties, so why must aloof Western governments insist on condemning these people further by denying them the more basic rights of food, water and medicine?

Humanitarian aid is about helping people. It is, or at least should be, above politics and the self-interested morality of nations.

How our government has failed to see that there are better ways of helping re-establish women's rights in Afghanistan than starving them and letting their children die of curable diseases remains beyond me.

A foreign policy which only addresses domestic interests is just that: domestic. It is certainly not the "ethical foreign policy" we were promised.

KATE SEYMOUR MEAD

Manchester

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