US, 20 other nations call on Taliban to 'guarantee' protection for women and girls

US, 20 other nations call on Taliban to 'guarantee' protection for women and girls
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The U.S. and 20 other nations are calling for the protection of freedoms for women and girls in Afghanistan who are now under the control of the Taliban.

“We are deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement,” the nations said in a joint statement issued Wednesday. “We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection.”

The statement does not identify the Taliban by name, an effort to withhold international recognition of the Islamist-fundamentalist group, which swept across Afghanistan and ousted the Western-backed government in Kabul over the weekend. The U.S. has maintained that a “transfer of power” in Afghanistan has yet to take place and has issued joint calls with the international community for negotiations between the Taliban and the government over the future rule of Afghanistan.

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The Taliban’s takeover has triggered a crisis among the international community, which is now struggling to stand by commitments to protect Afghans who are targets for their association with the U.S. and allied nations exiting Afghanistan after two decades of engagement.

Women and girls are considered especially vulnerable targets of the Taliban, who subscribe to strict interpretations of Islamic law and deny women autonomy.

“Afghan women and girls, as all Afghan people, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity,” the U.S. and other nations said in Wednesday's statement, offering 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 twenty years,” they added.

Wednesday's statement was signed by the U.S., Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Honduras, Guatemala, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Senegal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.