US stresses equal rights for Afghan women, girls

WASHINGTON — Vedant Patel, the U.S. deputy spokesman for the State Department, emphasized equal rights for Afghan women and girls as the “key tenet” of Washington’s policy for Afghanistan.

In response to a question about the status of Afghan women and girls following the U.S. withdrawal, Patel stated that the U.S. consistently reiterates to the Taliban through relevant channels that its stated goal of legitimacy will “likely be impossible” to achieve if it continues to exclude half of the country’s population from participating in society and the economy.

“We continue to reiterate regularly, through relevant channels, with the Taliban that their self-stated goal of legitimacy can only be achieved — and will likely be impossible to achieve — if half of their population is being left out of participating in its society, participating in its economy,” he said.

“It continues to be a key factor of our approach to Afghanistan policy, and it’s something that we’ll continue to work towards,” Patel emphasized.

Since assuming power in Afghanistan, the Taliban has imposed severe restrictions on women and girls, including bans on their access to education and employment.