Rights of Afghan women and girls in jeopardy under Taliban control

WASHINGTON — With the Taliban taking full control of Afghanistan, there’s growing concern for the rights of women and girls.

International scholars say the united states’ involvement in Afghanistan led to more girls attending school, working, and even running for elected office.

The Taliban vowed to respect women’s rights before U.S. troops left Afghanistan but many are concerns because of the Taliban’s history of brutal treatment of women in the 1990s.

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In her last video, Afghan YouTube star Najma Sadequi shared a glimpse of her new reality under Taliban control.

“Life in Kabul has become very difficult especially for those who used to be free and happy,” said Sadeqi.

She was studying to become a journalist before she was killed in the suicide bombing last week. Sadeqi was only 20 years old.

“We’ve heard about their past, we can no longer trust them to go back to university or work with the kind of courage we used to have,” she said in the video.

Senior Brookings Institution fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown said women’s freedoms will change with Taliban control. She said the question is how much will change.

“Will women be allowed to go to school beyond puberty, though they have access to higher level education, college education, even in single sex schools? will women be able to access at least some jobs outside of the household?” she questioned.

She said she will also be monitoring how restrictive women’s rights become in Afghanistan. Felbab-Brown said under previous Taliban control, women couldn’t even leave their homes without a male guardian.

“It’s a very debilitating condition that really can cut a woman away from access to health care, food, education,” she said. “This condition exists in Afghanistan, it is often at the discretion of the males…but if this becomes a formal rule, then it becomes even more terrible women.”

Felbab-Brown believes international allies could help sustain these rights by negotiating aid with certain freedoms.

“We will release this money account if you continue allowing women access to education, through high school, through university,” said Felbab-Brown.

In his speech this week, President Biden said the U.S. will continue speaking up for the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.