(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Women in Afghanistan are worried about their future once the U.S. and NATO complete their expected near-total troop withdrawal in 2014.
There have been some gains made since the Taliban was deposed following the 2001 American-led invasion but the overriding fear is that once coalition forces have departed, the old ways of women being treated as second-class citizens will return with a vengeance.
To help ease those concerns, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Tuesday with representatives of an Afghan women's entrepreneurship program in Kabul. They expressed worries of a rollback in women's rights as well as deterioration of commerce once the U.S. influence is no longer as strong.
While the American military presence after next year is expected to be minimal, the U.S. still plans to have a hand in the continuing economic and social reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Before departing Kabul on Tuesday, Kerry also held talks with civic leaders involved in next year's election to choose a new government. The top U.S. envoy said Washington and the world are confident in the group's efforts to sustain Afghanistan's still fledgling democracy.
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