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US Government Demands Taliban Respect Women And Girls In Strongly Worded Statement

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  • The U.S. government issued a joint-statement Wednesday co-signed by countries and unions such as the U.K., EU and Canada, in which they expressed their concern for women and girls amid the current situation in Afghanistan.
  • The signatories are “deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement,” according to the State Department statement.
  • The Taliban indicated it plans to take a more moderate, modern approach to their rule, specifically for women, since their takeover of the country. Women in Afghanistan are skeptical of these claims, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. government issued a joint-statement Wednesday co-signed by countries and unions such as the U.K., EU and Canada, in which they expressed their concern for women and girls amid the current situation in Afghanistan.

The signatories are “deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement,” according to the State Department statement.

The joint statement called on those in positions of power and authoritative figures in the country to “guarantee their protection.”

“Afghan women and girls, as all Afghan people, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity,” the countries wrote. “Any form of discrimination and abuse should be prevented. We in the international community stand ready to assist them with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices can be heard.”

The statement alluded to the Taliban’s crackdown on women’s rights under sharia law which is a strict interpretation of Islamic law derived from the Koran, BBC News reported. Under Sharia law people are harshly punished for crimes such as theft and adultery with amputations and beatings.  (RELATED: Afghan Women Dread Islamist Radicalism, Wearing Burqas As Taliban Takes Over Kabul)

When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan from 1996 and 2001, girls often didn’t go to school past the age of 10 and women were required to wear a burqa, a garment that covers the whole body and face with a mesh grill over the eyes, BBC News reported.

“We will monitor closely how any future government ensures rights and freedoms that have become an integral part of the life of women and girls in Afghanistan during the last twenty years,” the statement said.

The Taliban indicated it plans to take a more moderate, modern approach to their rule, specifically for women, since their takeover of the country. Women in Afghanistan are skeptical of these claims, the Associated Press reported.

“The fact is that a future Afghan government that upholds the basic rights of its people, that doesn’t harbor terrorists, and that protects the basic rights of its people, including the basic fundamental rights of half of its population, its women and girls, that is a government that we would be able to work with,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a Monday press briefing.

He made it clear that the U.S. would not back a government that does not support those rights.

“The United States, as I’ve said before, has done more than any country in the world over the last 20 years to support Afghanistan’s women and girls,” Price said. The U.S. is leading the effort “with the international community to make sure and to see to it that we are doing everything we can, speaking with one voice, and acting according to one script to preserve those gains because they are that important to us,” he added.

Fewer women are on the streets of Afghanistan for fear of retaliation for not wearing burkas, which the Taliban required in the 1990s when the militant group controlled the country, the Guardian reported. In 2001, when U.S. troops came to the country and the Taliban lost control, women were able to go to school and work, which they now believe is unlikely under Taliban rule.

An Afghan woman was allegedly shot and killed by the Taliban Tuesday for not wearing a burqa in public, Fox News reported.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group would honor women’s rights within the confines of sharia law during a news conference Tuesday.

“We are going to allow women to work and study within our frameworks,” he said, BBC News reported. “Women are going to be very active within our society.”

The U.N. Security Council called for “inclusive negotiations, of a new Government that is united, inclusive and representative — including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.”

“I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan who fear a return to the darkest days,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in remarks to the Security Council Monday. “It is essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected.”

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