Though Afghan women have been granted equality under Afghan law - a positive move since the 2001 American invasion - the reality is often starkly different.
Girls still lag behind their male peers when it comes to education, healthcare is often lacking or non-existent, and torture and assassination are not uncommon for outspoken female politicians and activists.
Though most Afghan women say peace in their country is critical to improving their lot, they also express fear that the departure of U.S. troops will leave a power vacuum filled by anti-women Taliban and insurgent forces.
"The future is not very bright. Some gains are there, they certainly are significant, but even the gains that have been achieved so far, there's been erosion," David Cortright, professor of peace studies at the University of Notre Dame told Here & Now's Robin Young. "The women we talk to felt that their ability to be more active in public, their gains in education and health care, these are in jeopardy."
Cortright is author of the 2010 report "Afghan Women Speak: Enhancing Security and Human Rights in Afghanistan."
- Read the report: Afghan Women Speak
- David Cortright, professor of peace studies and Director of Policy Studies at the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
This segment aired on October 31, 2012.