US threatens Taliban with ‘costs’ after ban on Afghan women and girls from school

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The Taliban have regained power over Afghanistan with a promise to protect the basic liberties of their people. But just as quickly as the group took control, it broke those guarantees. women have been set back decades.

The decision to ban Afghan girls from receiving even a basic level of education outside the home came a day after the Taliban announced that they would no longer allow women to attend public or private universities.

These latest restrictions have sparked condemnation from Western governments and human rights groups around the world. Even countries frequently criticized for their unequal treatment of men and women, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have urged the Taliban to change course.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said broad criticism was significant and that the United States was working with various partners to hold Afghanistan’s de facto rulers accountable, but said there was no preview of any action. Rejected.

“What you have already heard is a course of condemnation from all over the world, and not just from us, but from countries – virtually every continent, including Islamic countries, which in themselves are important and powerful. I think,” said Blinken. he told reporters. “And to be clear, we are currently working with other countries on this.

Afghan schoolgirls pose in a classroom in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 22, 2022.

Ebrahim Norooj/AP

So far, however, Afghan leaders have appeared undaunted by any attempts to persuade or pressure the government to keep its original promises, and to implement the newly introduced policies. has reportedly already taken brutal measures. The Associated Press said on Thursday that the Taliban had evicted teenage Afghan girls from a private education center, where one student said the girls were beaten while studying.

Almost immediately after the chaotic US withdrawal in August 2021, the Taliban imposed new restrictions on female college students, closed lower-level schools, and improved the security situation in the country, allowing measures to be implemented. After that, it said it would resume college for girls and women in March last year. Complete segregation of men and women. Girls in the 6th grade and above who still can’t go home even if the deadline comes.

At the time, the US retaliated by canceling talks with the Taliban focused on economic issues, but those talks resumed in late June.

On Tuesday, Price called the crackdown “perhaps even deadly” against any hope the Taliban might have to improve their position in the West. The group, which is not recognized by any country as its legitimate ruler, is avidly seeking legitimacy on the international stage, claiming it wants improved relations with the United States, a desire the Taliban have described as ” Clarified,” he said to us in private. ”

“The level of our support and the nature of our relationship will depend entirely on the actions they take toward their own people and the actions they take regarding our primary interests.

Photo: Empty school benches in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 22, 2022.

Empty school benches in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 22, 2022.

Ebrahim Norooj/AP

But since withdrawing from the country, the Biden administration has provided more than $1.1 billion in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and moved to unfreeze another $3.5 billion in Afghan central bank reserves. UN observers say they have taken protective measures to prevent it from falling into the hands of the WHO, but UN observers say members of the group are increasingly trying to mobilize aid money and accountability is difficult to achieve. are reporting.

Price also claimed the regime “has many tools in its toolbox” for punishing Taliban restrictions, but the group itself and many of its prominent members are already under severe sanctions. imposing other economic penalties on Afghanistan risks exacerbating the already dire humanitarian crisis that ravages Afghanistan.

Both the State Department and human rights groups say Afghanistan’s economy is certain to suffer further damage if women are not allowed to receive an education.

Eleanor Reikes, vice chair of international programs for the International Rescue Commission, said in a statement: “There are no two ways to go about this. Women and girls are empowered to work, get an education and move freely.” “Many educated Afghans have already left the country in the last 18 months. I need it urgently.”

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