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U.S. cheers scrutiny of new Afghan marital law

KABUL — A new law that critics say legalizes marital rape will face a thorough review, the president's spokesman said Tuesday, and a State Department spokesman said the United States was glad to hear it.

The law, quietly passed and signed last month, has stirred international outcry over women's rights. The law says a husband can have sex with his wife every four days unless she is ill, and it regulates when and for what reasons a wife may leave the house by herself. The law would apply only to the country's Shiite population, between 10 percent and 20 percent of Afghanistan's 30 million people.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the United States was pleased that President Hamid Karzai has agreed to review the law.

Karzai's spokesman, Humayun Hamidzada, said that the president has consulted with Afghanistan's leading clerics and his Cabinet over the law and that it has been sent to the Ministry of Justice for review.

Taliban worries: U.S. intelligence about the makeup and recruiting power of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan is so shallow that it impedes the U.S. war effort, said special U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke.

U.S. cheers scrutiny of new Afghan marital law 04/07/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 9:40pm]

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