Defending the right to educate school-age girls was one of those defining causes behind Canadian support to join the Afghanistan military mission seven years ago.
The Talibanís aim to keep Afghan women uneducated, presumably imprisoned and pregnant in their male masterís kitchen, gave a female liberation purpose to NATOís combat justification.
Post-Taliban girls in school uniforms became the poster children to sell the mission as a humanitarian crusade worthy of our soldier sacrifices.
Thatís what makes a new law recently signed by President Hamid Karzai is so offensively outrageous, legislation that clearly duplicates, if not denigrates further, the lowly Taliban status of women in a democratic government handed power to enshrine equality for all.
The final wording is being fine-tuned, but the new law reportedly prohibits women from leaving their homes, seeking employment or visiting a doctor without their husbandís permission.
Wives would not be able to refuse their husbandís demand for sex and children would automatically revert to the custody of the father in the event of a marital breakdown.
Our soldiers are dying to defend a government voting in favor of legalized rape and imposing limits on a womanís freedom of movement, expression and even her right to seek medical attention?
There are 116 good Canadian reasons -- one for each fallen soldier -- why Prime Minister Stephen Harper should join the other NATO partners to force a weak and ineffective Karsai to repeal this insidious legislation NOW.
It might make good politics for President Karzai struggling in an election year, but Afghanistan cannot be allowed to pass a law mocking of our missionís sacrifices without an all-out diplomatic fight.