A new Afghan law says Shiite men can demand sex from their wives every four days and keep them indoors indefinitely. This thread is not a joke. Hillary Clinton met privately this past Tuesday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, but it's unclear if she pressed him to reverse the law he just signed. Some lawmakers claim the law was never debated and was rushed through paliament. Karzai has been accused of signing the legislation to bolster his re-election prospects. The law - which has not yet been published but was leaked by a UN agency - rules that a Shiite woman must seek her husband's permission to go outside (Karzai says this portion of the law is being mistranslated by western media outlets; he says the woman can in fact go outside on her own "in emergencies") . "Obedience, readiness for intercourse and not leaving the house without the permission of the husband are the duties of the wife," states the law. "As long as the husband is not traveling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night," it says (the woman can legally tell her husband "no" in the case of legitimate illness; the law also attempts to protect Shiite women from sexual neglect, mandating that men must take their wives to bed "at least once every four months"). Also, in a divorce, a father always gets custody of any children, according to the law. "Women's basic freedoms are being sacrificed for the political and electoral gain of a few parliamentarians," Human Rights Watch's Brad Adams said. Critics say the legislation undermines hard-won rights for women enacted after the fall of the Taliban's strict Islamist regime. This story's been getting a good deal of attention in the past 2 days, and apparently Barack Obama had a session of "tough talk" with Karzai - via telephone? Barack's still in Europe - because this afternoon Karzai released a statement. He said the law will be "studied" and "possibly sent back to parliament for review" (in consultation with scholars and religious leaders). He's ordered the Justice Ministry to review the law, and if anything in it contavenes the country's constitution or Shariah law, then "measures will be taken." why are we fighting for Afghanistan's freedom from al-Qaeda -- when the extremist Taliban (who are sympathetic with al-Qaeda) are allowed to influence parliamentary laws? When women are treated as slaves, and human rights are being actively repealed, and extremist Taliban members can be elected into public office, it muddles up the issues for me of what exactly we wish to accomplish there.