US Lawmakers Question Future of Afghan Women’s Rights as Troops Ready to Leave Afghanistan

The announcement of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan have many worried about what this will mean for the established rights of Afghan women, youth and minority groups. As negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban continue, many hope women’s rights will remain a part of their move forward.

Zalmay Khalilzad, a special representative for the Afghanistan reconciliation, on Tuesday testified before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on policy in Afghanistan to detail its commitments to preserving the gains of minority men and women. During this meeting, congressional lawmakers questioned Khalilzad over whether recent US progress in Afghanistan would remain established.

Nearly two weeks after US President Joe Biden decided to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, many lawmakers remained skeptical of the decision because of fear that the Taliban’s continued influence would reinstitute many oppressive and violent rules on women. 

Some US lawmakers suggested increasing sanctions on Afghanistan if the government did not continue efforts to maintain women’s rights, in which Khalilzad maintained that if the Taliban did not continue to respect human rights, they could not account on assistance from US and NATO allies to continue to provide support.

“Our commitment to continue with a strong partnership with Afghanistan has been clear,” Khalilzad added, but repeated that it would not be something that could be forced on the Afghan people. “The…

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