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For Immediate Release
September 25, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Statement on Assassination of Safia Ama Jan, Provincial Director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs

Mrs. Bush expresses her deepest sympathies, and those of the American people, to the people of Afghanistan and to the family of Safia Ama Jan - the provincial director of Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs assassinated this morning by Taliban gunmen. Ama Jan's brutal killing is further evidence of the threat posed by terrorism - and of how the struggle to end terrorism is also a struggle to preserve the fundamental rights and dignity of women.

The oppression of women is central to the Taliban's vision for Afghanistan. In the weeks following September 11, Americans were shocked to see the images of Afghan women living under the Taliban regime - denied the right to work, the right to move about freely, and the right to be educated. As Ama Jan's assassination shows, five years later, Taliban fighters still cling to their repressive worldview.

Today, however, women and girls are in school throughout Afghanistan. And their education is vital to the success of Afghanistan's democracy. Educated women are more likely to be active participants in their country's political process, ensuring that Afghanistan's elected officials will protect the rights and freedoms of all Afghan citizens. And by educating its women, Afghanistan will produce more inspiring leaders like Safia Ama Jan - women willing to risk everything to see their country peaceful and free.

American women stand with the women of Afghanistan, and with leaders like Safia Ama Jan. We are proud to support them in their efforts to build Afghanistan's new democracy, and to secure a more hopeful and peaceful future for the children of both our countries.

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