After the Biden Administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, many families feared for their lives under the rule of the Taliban.
Anyone who paid attention during the last Taliban rule knew that women, girls, ethnic and religious minorities, and those who supported or assisted American soldiers would be targeted and persecuted.
The Taliban has publicly claimed a more “progressive” view toward women’s rights, but the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has received credible reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights taking place in many areas under Taliban control. These violations include executions of civilians and members of the Afghan national security forces, restricting the rights of women and girls to move around freely and attend schools, recruitment of child soldiers, and repression.
Unsurprisingly, the Taliban quickly moved to restrict the rights and freedoms of those they deemed inferior or as their enemies. Social freedoms and basic civil liberties were restricted almost immediately.
Young girls who grew up attending school and learned to read were quickly banned from receiving an education. Men and women are not allowed in public parks at the same time. Women have been removed from planes, public transportation, and buildings for not having a male guardian with them.
Last September I joined my colleagues and introduced H.Res. 694, condemning the human rights violations toward women and girls in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. The brave men and women serving in Afghanistan over the last twenty years did not sacrifice so much to see their hard work and progress collapse in a matter of weeks.
It was predicted weeks before the withdrawal that the Taliban would move quickly to retake the country. It should come as no surprise that the Taliban has begun to infringe on the rights of Afghan women and girls. The safety of Afghan civilians, especially those vulnerable populations, remains a critical concern. All women and girls should have the right to liberty, freedom of movement, education, self-expression, and employment.
I am deeply saddened that in the months following the Administration’s poorly planned and inept withdrawal from Afghanistan, they have still not properly alleviated the humanitarian crisis that followed.
My heart goes out to those in Iowa who aided the United States during the war in Afghanistan and to those in Afghanistan who assisted U.S.-backed military and humanitarian operations over the last twenty years. We will never forget their sacrifices.