ANALYSIS: Politicians, World Leaders Politely Ask The Taliban To Respect Women’s Rights

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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As the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in the wake of U.S. and NATO’s withdrawal, politicians are asking the Taliban to respect human rights using press releases and other means.

The Taliban overtook Kabul and a number of other provincial capitals, toppling the U.S.-backed Afghan government and declaring the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. With the Taliban back in control, tone-deaf U.S. politicians and world leaders are asking the Taliban to recognize human rights.

Prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban was the country’s main governing body. The Taliban’s rule, which came to power in most of the county in 1996 after the Afghan Civil War, was an oppressive Islamist regime — particularly for women, political dissidents, and non-Muslims — in a long string of extremely brutal governments that have controlled the country since the end of British colonial rule.

Despite 20 years of war during which it spent over a trillion dollars and sacrificed over 2,000 soldiers, the Taliban was able to return to power — something that will stain the U.S. on the international stage for decades to come. It also has proven that the West’s attempt to implement democracy in places that did not welcome it was a fool’s errand. Yet, prominent political figures just can’t seem to read the room and are now asking the Taliban to implement liberal democratic values they despise.

In a Sunday statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “The Taliban must know that the world is watching its actions. We are deeply concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls. The U.S., the international community, and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban.”

“Any political settlement that the Afghans pursue to avert bloodshed must include having women at the table,” Pelosi said, as if her authority carried any weight with the Taliban. “The fate of women and girls in Afghanistan is critical to the future of Afghanistan. As we strive to assist women, we must recognize that their voices are important, and all must listen to them for solutions, respectful of their culture. There is bipartisan support to assist the women and girls of Afghanistan,” the Speaker of the House’s statement droned on.

These demands are entirely disconnected from the Taliban’s values and aims. Yet, it is the line that not only Pelosi, but President Joe Biden’s State Department, has taken up in confronting the Taliban.

“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 told the media during a Monday press conference, according to Al Jazeera.

“The converse is also true – that we are not going to support a government that does not do that,” Price added.

The U.S. will be “watching closely” what happens in the aftermath of the Taliban taking control of the country, as will the international community, Price claimed, citing a statement from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Monday.

In its statement, the UNSC, which comprises the U.S., France, Britain, Russia and China, along with ten other non-permanent member countries, “called for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and the establishment, through inclusive negotiations, of a new Government that is united, inclusive and representative — including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.” (RELATED: Taliban Ask Women To Join Government, Promise ‘Amnesty’ For Opponents Throughout Afghanistan)

The UNSC, “underlined that all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to the protection of civilians” as well.

Other world leaders, such as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, also begged the Taliban to respect human rights, Reuters reported.

“I would just again implore those who made these moves in recent days to acknowledge what the international community has called for – human rights and the safety of their people,” Ardern said at a Monday press conference, according to Reuters.

“What we want to see is women and girls being able to access work and education. These are things that have traditionally not been available to them where there has been governance by Taliban,” the New Zealand Prime Minister added.

The U.S., along with 19 other countries, such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, as well as the European Union, released a joint statement Wednesday that again implored the Taliban to respect human rights. “Afghan women and girls, as all Afghan people, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. 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 said.

“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 signatories added.