Shocking brutality, discrimination, denial of education. Just a few of the human rights abuses Afghan women face.
Dozens of girls daring to seek an education were sickened when gas filled their school — allegedly caused by a Taliban attack. An 18-year-old bride had her nose and ears cut off as punishment for running away from her abusive in-laws. The Taliban shot a pregnant woman dead for alleged adultery after forcing her to abort her fetus.
The U.S. is going to withdraw from Afghanistan. But the the risks that Afghan women face daily — and hard work it will take to ensure their human rights — remain.
We need a plan.
Today, International Women’s Day, let’s make sure the women of Afghanistan are not left behind.
Tell the U.S. government that women’s human rights are non-negotiable, and Afghanistan should not be an exception. The U.S. should adopt an Action Plan for Afghan women before leaving the country in the hands of the Afghan government and the Taliban.
In 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a promise to Afghan women: “We will not abandon you, we will stand with you always.” Protecting human rights in Afghanistan — including the rights of women — was one of the reasons the U.S. and NATO cited for invading Afghanistan back in 2001.
But now this pledge to the Afghan people is in danger of being broken, and the very justification for being in Afghanistan in the first place — defending human rights — is in danger of being completely abandoned. All because of political expediency.
A U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is imminent. But the U.S. shouldn’t abandon Afghanistan’s women.
Peace talks are underway between the U.S., the Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai, and the Taliban. As these sides negotiate the future of Afghanistan, women must be included and their rights must be protected.
Women’s participation will build a better peace in Afghanistan. But will women even be equally represented at the talks that will determine their fate? So far the answer is an unacceptable “No.” We know all too well what happens when women aren’t at the table — their voices are silenced and their needs are left out.
Amnesty has a plan to promote women’s rights in Afghanistan and to make sure Afghan women are able to shape their own destiny — but we need you to take action to make it a reality.
Demand that the U.S. keep its promise to Afghanistan’s women. It can leave Afghanistan, but not its commitment to women’s human rights.
Policy and Advocacy Director, Women’s Human Rights
Amnesty International USA