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Taliban's Grip on Women and Girls Tightens

(FILE) An Afghan girl walks among Taliban soldiers on a street in Afghanistan.

The United States supports the Afghan people’s call for women to return to work and women and girls to return to school and university.

Taliban's Grip on Afghan Women and Girls Tightens
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“The reality on the ground more than one year after the Taliban takeover [in Afghanistan] is dire,” declared U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood, Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs at the UN.

The Taliban has barred female employees of national and international non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, from the workplace. This puts at risk millions of Afghans who depend on humanitarian assistance for their survival, as NGOs - including their female employees - are instrumental in delivering this assistance. Moreover, this unjustly restricts Afghan women’s participation in the workplace. The United States calls on the Taliban to urgently reverse this decision.

Earlier in December, the Taliban stripped away women and girls’ access to education above grade six. State Department spokesperson Ned Price spoke out against this move:

“The United States condemns, in the strongest terms, the Taliban’s indefensible decision to ban women from universities, to keep secondary schools closed to girls, and to continue to impose other restrictions on the ability of women and girls in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights and their fundamental freedoms.”

“It is not only women and girls who are impacted,” noted Ambassador Wood. “We’ve seen the reports that the Taliban ordered judges to impose a strict interpretation of Sharia law,” including carrying out public executions, amputations, and floggings.

Many Afghans continue to reject these actions by the Taliban. As the Taliban increasingly adopts its old practices, it moves further from normalization with the international community and the legitimacy it desires.

The United States remains committed to helping the Afghan people in need, said Ambassador Wood:

“We have provided more than $1.1 billion in humanitarian assistance since August 2021, and we will continue to address the needs of vulnerable Afghans in Afghanistan and those who have fled to neighboring countries.”

The United States supports the Afghan people’s call for women to return to work and women and girls to return to school and university, and for women to continue to play essential roles in humanitarian and basic needs assistance delivery. The Taliban must respect the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

The legitimacy and support that the Taliban seeks from the international community begins with the legitimacy they earn from the Afghan people through their actions.