In many respects, the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, according to the United Nations. In particular, “the current situation of women and girls, access for humanitarian assistance, and ongoing human rights abuses” are three of the most pressing topics, said United States Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs Robert Wood.
Since returning to power in 2021, the Taliban have passed over 50 decrees aimed at erasing women and girls from public life, denying them education and the right to work.
“Muslim-majority countries have spoken out against these decisions, and the United States is joining them in doing so,” said Ambassador Wood.
“They have banned women from universities, closed secondary schools to girls, and prevented Afghan women from working with NGOs and the United Nations. These restrictions are absolutely indefensible.”
Forbidding women from working for humanitarian aid agencies is a particularly cruel and short-sighted twist, considering that more than two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population depends on assistance to survive and about 20 million are facing acute hunger. “Women are essential actors in the distribution of aid. It is imperative that they are allowed to continue their critical work with NGOs and the United Nations," said Ambassador Wood.
“More broadly, the Taliban have created an increasingly difficult operating environment for partners who are staying and delivering life-saving aid to the Afghan people.”
“Any interference in or diversion of humanitarian aid is totally unacceptable. We continue to expect the Taliban to allow unhindered humanitarian access and the flow of aid, consistent with humanitarian principles.”
Finally, a new United Nations report documents more than 1,600 cases of human rights violations committed by Afghanistan’s authorities against detainees. In many cases, these are violations of the Taliban leaders’ own instructions, which prohibit torture and ill-treatment.
“UNAMA’s report … highlighted at least 800 instances of killing, unjust detention, physical abuse, and ill-treatment and disappearances carried out against former government officials and Afghanistan National Defense and Security Force members between August 2021 and June 2023.”
“The Security Council members must continue to work together to press the Taliban to reverse their destructive course,” said Ambassador Wood. “Indeed, the Council must press the Taliban to engage in serious dialogue with the Afghan people to support their aspirations, to put an end to human rights abuses, and to allow assistance to reach those in need.”