EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has expressed concern about proposed Afghan legislation that rights groups say would not protect women from domestic violence and forced marriage.
Ashton said in a statement that if the bill is signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, it will make it harder to prosecute people in domestic violence and child-abuse cases.
She added that it would prevent alleged abusers' relatives from testifying in court as prosecution witnesses.
Ashton called the draft law a "serious backward step" for women's rights in Afghanistan.
The parliament passed the "criminal procedure law" last year.
New York-based Human Rights Watch called last week for Karzai to send the bill back to legislators with amendments.
A Karzai spokesman said he could not comment on the president's intentions.
Based on reporting by AFP