By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
Nov. 14, 2008 - It's a measure of the enemy in Afghanistan that Taliban terrorists attacked girls walking to school in Afghanistan on Nov. 12 by throwing acid in their faces, a senior Defense Department official said today. "It was obviously a despicable attack," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. "It's a reflection of the brutality and backwardness of the enemy we're dealing with here. I certainly hope this is not any trend of tactic that the Taliban have, because it is a truly despicable act."
Three girls were seriously injured in the attack.
"The Taliban's continued terror attacks threaten the progress that has been made in Afghanistan," first lady Laura Bush said in a statement released by the White House.
When they were in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban forbade women from attending school or even going outside. Women doctors were forbidden from practicing, and no woman was allowed to serve in political office.
Bush noted how that has changed since Operation Enduring Freedom began in October 2001. "Today, Afghan women are attending school, running for political office and serving as police officers," she said. Afghan women are 28 percent of the country's legislature, and almost 2 million Afghan girls are now in school, she added.
"The United States and our allies are working with the government of Afghanistan to build more schools where children can learn, open additional roads so that commerce can grow and provide basic health care for the Afghan people," she said. "These cowardly and shameful acts are condemned by honorable people in the United States and around the world."