Alaska editorial: Value in protection

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

It’s heart-warming to learn our senior senator is thinking beyond Alaska this holiday season.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski joined six of her colleagues to introduce a bipartisan Afghan Women and Girls Security Support Act last week.

The act would require the Pentagon to put processes in place to protect women and girls in Afghanistan, making it a condition of American forces leaving that country.

“A country and a culture can be judged by how it treats the vulnerable within its borders,” says Murkowski. “This legislation would make sure that this key measuring stick of our accomplishments in Afghanistan is made a specific priority for our armed forces as the Afghanistan government takes a more prominent and permanent role in their region.”

The legislation would require the monitoring of women’s security during and after the transition, improve gender responsiveness among Afghan National Security Forces, and increase recruitment and retention of women in the Afghan National Security Forces.

The strength of the American conviction in regard to women’s safety around the world, and particularly in Afghanistan, is evident in the bipartisan and both-gender sponsorship of the legislation.

Democratic female Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Kirsten Gillebrand of New York join Republican female Senators Murkowski, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Olympia Snowe of Maine in sponsoring the act. Two male senators, both Democrats, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, also joined in.

It’s no secret that some women in Afghanistan endure horrible situations. Americans shouldn’t only be aware of it, as most are, but be willing to do something about it.

Murkowski is doing just that.

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