The Afghan government is cracking down on shelters for abused women. Humanitarian organizations fund and run the shelters, which play a vital role in the lives of women escaping abusive situations. One such shelter housed the now-famous runaway child-bride, Bibi Aisha, who covered Time last year. Aisha and countless women like her face forced marriage during childhood and suffer public flogging, mutilation, and death. These independent shelters are lifelines for women desperate to build a new life for themselves and their children.

Unfortunately, the awareness Aisha’s story raised has caused massive backlash from conservative government factions, reports the New York Times. Extremist Taliban leaders are making moves to close shelters entirely. They feel they encourage runaways and want to hide the humiliation caused by growing awareness of women’s issues. Other conservative figures want to seize the shelters and…

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