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US, UK and EU nations call for protecting Afghan women’s rights as fears rise

Afghan women and children. (U.S. Air Force illustration/Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace)

As many as 21 nations, including the United States and United Kingdom on Wednesday issued a joint statement wherein they expressed their concerns about the rights and freedom of Afghan women and girls following the recent takeover of the war-torn nation by the Taliban.

Stating that they were ready to provide assistance with humanitarian aid, the nations said they would closely monitor how any future government in Afghanistan was ensuring the rights that became an integral part of women and girls over the past 20 years.

Earlier in the days, photos and videos emerged from Kabul that showed Taliban fighters were using sharp objects to beat back women and children who are desperately trying to enter Kabul airport in a bid to leave the country.

“We are deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement. We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection,” read the joint statement released by the US State Department. The statement was also signed by the European Union and 18 other countries like Australia and Canada.

“”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. 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 20 years,” it further read.

The Islamic militant group swept to power without minimal resistance after the United States withdrew its troops leading to the fall of a Western-backed government. Panic has been reigning supreme over the past few days in the country with its president Ashraf Ghani joining thousands of desperate citizens to leave the country as memories of a regressive rule by the Taliban 20 years ago, before being ousted by the US military, gripped the nation.

The Taliban have, so far, insist they have changed and would not impose the same draconian restrictions they did when they last ruled Afghanistan, all but eliminating women’s rights.

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(c) 2021 the Hindustan Times

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