U.S. expresses ‘great concern’ over Taliban’s treatment of women and girls

Women protestors in Kabul. File photo.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department’s deputy spokesman, Vedant Patel, said the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan remains a big concern for the United States, calling Taliban’s actions against women unacceptable.

His comments were in response to a question about the recent arrests of women and girls in the country for alleged violations of the Taliban’s dress code.

Patel emphasized the U.S. stance on the issue, stating, “As it relates to Afghanistan and the Taliban, its treatment of women and girls, its lack of human rights, basic human rights in everyday society, continues to be something of great concern to us. We have continued to make clear to the Taliban that this is unacceptable to us as it goes about its own desired journey for legitimacy.”

Reports confirm that the Taliban has detained numerous women in Kabul, Daikundi, Bamiyan, and Balkh provinces over what they describe as “bad hijab” and dress code infringements. These actions have triggered widespread reactions, but the Taliban defends its decision to enforce its dress code.

Meanwhile, Patel outlined measures to ensure that U.S. humanitarian aid does not benefit the Taliban. “We work closely with trusted NGOs and other entities, utilizing vetting and other processes to ensure that American taxpayer money does not end up in the hands of the Taliban,” he added.

In related developments, several women activists remain in Taliban custody. Amnesty International issued a statement on Monday calling for the “unconditional” release of Manizha Sediqi, a female protester imprisoned by the Taliban. The statement highlights her lack of access to legal counsel, regular family visits, and adequate healthcare, noting her deteriorating health condition due to torture and other forms of ill-treatment.