State Department Calls for Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

State Department Calls for Women's Rights in Afghanistan

( – The Taliban was never known for its kind treatment of women. The terrorist organization is fiercely dedicated to Sharia law, which places heavy restrictions on female freedoms. Those who violate its tenets often face severe consequences up to and including death. The group’s leaders, who staged a takeover of the Middle Eastern country on August 15, now vow to respect women’s rights, supposedly “within Islamic Law.” Yet, a new State Department report suggests that’s likely not true.

New State Department Report Shows Failures

The US State Department, working in tandem with 20 other countries, released a joint statement on August 18 expressing serious concerns about the safety of women and girls in Afghanistan. It asks leaders in the Middle Eastern country to follow through on respecting the rights of its female population, citing concerns the US’ rapid departure could put them at risk.

The statement also draws attention to the fact that America’s presence in the region helped usher in new rights and freedoms for Middle Eastern women. It promises that all 21 countries involved intend to monitor Afghanistan’s progress on the issue, intervening with humanitarian aid when and where it becomes necessary.

But if the Taliban’s leaders are promising to respect women’s rights, what prompted this new joint statement? A closer look reveals the surprising claims might be little more than smoke and mirrors — at least according to reports from those on the ground.

Taliban Forces Already Harming Women?

Reports of atrocities committed against Afghan women and girls began to surface almost immediately after the Taliban takeover on August 15. The terrorist cell allegedly killed a at least one woman for the simple crime of not wearing a face veil within days of the coup’s completion. Another report claimed that an Afghan woman was set on fire for unsatisfactory cooking. According to a UN document reviewed by the BBC, terrorists may be engaging in a door-to-door manhunt, too, in an effort to suss out allies of the US and the UN.

Pictures and videos captured on the streets of Kabul in the days afterward also seem to be missing one important element: women. Most display the typical chaos one might expect in the middle of a crisis, but nearly all the individuals present are men. Yet, this is in line with Sharia Law, which often states women must not leave home unless accompanied by men.

The Taliban also has a long and well-documented history of stonings, forced marriages and in some cases, sex trafficking of women. A report from July suggests the group actively demanded families turn over girls as young as 15 to become brides for their soldiers as they slowly took over the zone. This was standard practice prior to America’s intervention in 2001.

Female Pilot Speaks Out

Afghan air force pilot Niloofar Rahmani, who once experienced the Taliban’s cruelty firsthand, says no one should trust the terrorist cell to respect women’s rights. She feels the current promise to respect women is little more than a deflection attempt designed to soothe foreign powers until Afghanistan is firmly under its control.

Rahmani would know. The pilot rose to fame in 2013 after becoming the first Afghan female to ever serve in such a role. They responded by targeting her with death threats, vowing to end her life for the simple act of doing her job. She finally fled the country in 2015, leaving her family behind.

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