So if I understand the point of this Time cover, it goes something like this:

This horrific attack that happened while we had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan could only happen if we withdraw our 100,000 troops from Afghanistan.  Therefore, we cannot, in good conscience, withdraw our 100,000 troops from Afghanistan.

I know I’m a bit late to this story, but it’s not as if it’s going to be a one-off affair.  Apparently, playing up the plight of Afghan women is an important angle in marketing The Good War in Perpetuity 2010 campaign.  See, also The Oracle Has Spoken.

It’s not that I’m hard hearted when it comes to conditions for women in Afghanistan, it’s just that many of the warlords that compirse the “good” Karzai government are just as brutal towards women as the Taliban.  These attitudes toward females are part of a long-standing culture that we’re not going to bomb into modernity, nor are we even trying (our bombs are intended for other swell purposes).  While there have been some gains for women in and around Kabul since the invasion, in the Pashtun-dominated south, women have the added bonus of the misery of war to tack on to the unchanged situation in terms of their rights and status in society.

Not to mention that war, in general, tends to create an environment that empowers reactionary forces, stunts progress along liberal lines and pushes women even further back. 

Either way, the US mission is not directed at improving the lot of women – that is why we have allied with groups that share the Taliban’s ethos in this respect.  Continuing the war will not change that, but perpetuate it.