Key: Afghan ‘sexual desire’ law unacceptable

Prime Minister [New Zealand] John Key said the Shi’ite law in Afghanistan saying a wife is obliged to fulfil the sexual desires of her husband is “unacceptable”. But it would not threaten New Zealand’s commitment to Afghanistan.

Mr Key said last night that he would write to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to express New Zealand’s views on the law.

“But there is no doubt that our voice will be strongly heard, that we find this an abhorrent act and totally unacceptable to the New Zealand Government.”

But Mr Key is unlikely to follow the example of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who said it would lead to “a clear diminishment in Allied support” in Afghanistan.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has telephoned President Karzai about the issue.

“I think in the short term, it would be unlikely to have any impact on our commitment to Afghanistan,” Mr Key said. “We are fundamentally there to try and reduce the threat of global terrorism. We need to deal with that situation first and foremost.”

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