Under Taliban control, the lives of millions of Afghans are at risk—particularly those of women and girls. Already, we have seen attacks on their right to work, to attend school, and to live freely. It has been a full month since girls have been effectively banned from attending secondary school. No women have been named to the Taliban’s newly appointed Cabinet. In some areas controlled by the Taliban, women have been told they cannot seek medical care without a male relative as an escort. Others have been forcibly married off to militants.
Despite the Taliban’s assurances that women and girls will maintain the freedoms hard-won over the last 20 years, we have already seen the subjugation of our Afghan sisters. At least 80 percent of the Afghans that have recently been forced to flee Afghanistan are women and children. The incredible achievements of activists who have worked to ensure that girls have access to education, that women can become judges and journalists, and that bright Afghan women are able to pursue college degrees have been reverted in a matter of months.
It is time for the United States to act and ensure that these women are protected from such abuses and can freely pursue their dreams both in-country and on our shores. To do so, we are calling on the Biden administration to generously resettle women and girls through the State Department’s authorization of priority refugee status for Afghans, or through a special humanitarian parole category– an idea endorsed by dozens of senators from both parties. We call on the administration, too, to establish an Ombudsman for allies and human rights activists to promote the safety and freedom of those working for women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Join us in urging the Biden administration to support, welcome, and protect our Afghan sisters and ensure they have the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and happiness. In the past few months, Americans have demonstrated incredible support for our Afghan allies. Let us extend that support and empowerment to the thousands of women and girls who need it.