McCaul, Meeks host roundtable on crisis facing women, girls in Afghanistan

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks on Tuesday hosted a roundtable discussion focused on the challenges facing women and girls in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

Members of the committee heard from former Afghan ambassador to the US Roya Rahmani, former Afghan diplomat Hadeia Amiry, and former Kabul Deputy Governor Hanifa Girowal.

“I have watched with great concern as the Taliban has continued to restrict the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan since the collapse in August of 2021,” McCaul said. “I have heard from many women who have witnessed the barbaric actions of the Taliban firsthand.”

Since the Taliban takeover, 20 years of progress in women’s rights have been erased, he said, adding that the Taliban has issued more than 30 edicts aimed at severely limiting women’s freedoms.

“Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are banned from attending school above the 6th grade. The only country in the world,” he said.

“The Taliban has also banned Afghan women from working for NGOs, which is a big concern of mine. Samantha Power, USAID, [is] testifying this afternoon. I am going to ask her about this. But also prohibited from working for the United Nations. They’ve inhibited the delivery of humanitarian aid, which is desperately needed by the women in Afghanistan,” he said.

“The Taliban has essentially banned women from public life and intends to permanently place all women on house arrest.

“Quite frankly, they’re treated like property,” he said.

Moreover, in addition to losing their rights and their freedoms, women and girls who disobey the Taliban’s edicts have been flogged, whipped, stoned, tortured, and killed. Afghan women are forced into marriages with Taliban fighters and face constant threats of sexual assault.

“We continue to work to evacuate at-risk Afghan allies, especially women and children, from Afghanistan because they are simply not safe,” McCaul said.

This committee will do everything in its power to help Afghan women and girls hold the Taliban accountable for its human rights abuses.