The withdrawal of the US-led military coalition from Afghanistan could threaten women’s rights in the country, a new report warned on Tuesday.
The Taliban would “roll back much of the past two decades of progress if it regains national power,” said the assessment by the US National Intelligence Council.
The two-page report referred to the harsh treatment of women and girls under the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule, when women were mostly confined to their homes, and girls had no access to education. Women were prohibited from being in public without a male relative.
In the 20 years that US-led forces were deployed in the country, gains made in women’s rights were touted as a major accomplishment, even if they were mostly restricted to urban centers.
When are international troops set to leave Afghanistan?
US President Joe Biden has set a September deadline for US forces to withdraw from the South Asian country. However, the president and top officials maintain that they will not end their engagement with Afghanistan or advocacy for human rights.
The Taliban issued a statement last month saying that women could “serve their society in the education, business, health and social fields while maintaining correct Islamic hijab.”
However, the US report highlighted “minimal leadership turnover” in the Taliban, suggesting a degree of skepticism about the pledges.
“Progress (in women’s rights) probably owes more to external pressure than domestic support, suggesting it would be at risk after coalition withdrawal, even without Taliban efforts to reverse it,” the assessment said.
see/rt (Reuters, AP)