August 8, 2022
New report on rebuilding Afghanistan shows dismal outlook for women

Nearly a year after the US withdrew from Afghanistan, the humanitarian crisis and human rights record under the Taliban remain dire.

Despite demands from the US and many of the international community, women’s rights in Afghanistan have deteriorated to unseen levels since the Taliban first implemented their repressive policies in the 1990s.

A quarterly report released Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that USAID, the State and Department of Defense distributed at least $787 million to programs focused on women and girls from 2002 to 2020.

The report found that opportunities for Afghan women “gradually increased” during those two decades; ultimately, women’s rights in Afghanistan “failed to achieve the structural transformation the US and international partners envisioned.”

Women’s rights policies had a number of obstacles, including “inconsistent implementation” by the former Afghan government and “traditional social norms” among others. And the ongoing Taliban insurgency means that women “generally face a hostile environment,” the report said.

The US remains the largest aid donor to Afghanistan, providing $774 million in contributions since August 2021. But even with the continuing cash flow in the wake of the Taliban takeover, it has been difficult for aid agencies to figure out how to distribute it.

Many aid organizations have either moved most of their employees or left the country. Thousands of qualified Afghans who helped with this work are no longer on the ground. Furthermore, aid organizations have yet to come up with a system to operate under the Taliban regime.

A USAID report said, “The world community has pledged more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, but providing aid to the most vulnerable will require negotiations with the Taliban-led government, which will require a more comprehensive approach.” Still not recognized internationally.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Peter Kessler, told CBS News: “The world cannot forget that over the past 40 years, many large-scale refugee outflows began in Afghanistan, including most recently in 2015 to Europe. ” “Afghanistan should not be allowed to fall back into the isolation and economic deprivation that saw people here and around the world suffer in the late 1990s,” when the Taliban first came to power, left out of the Soviet Union. in a vacuum.

Women must now cover themselves in public and are subject to punishment, including jail time, for failure to comply with Taliban restrictions. The Ministry of Promotion of Its Virtue and Prevention of Vice has decided that the “best” hijab for women is not to leave the house.

In March, the Taliban banned access to secondary education for girls. The US responded by canceling talks with Taliban representatives in Qatar about the $7 billion in assets of the Afghan Central Bank currently in the US

Women are largely excluded from employment opportunities and education, with local media reports cited by Cigar leading to an increase in forced marriages. Despite the ban, USAID partners found that “few girls’ secondary and upper secondary schools are able to operate in six to nine provinces.”

At least half of the country’s population lives on less than $1.90 a day. The United Nations World Food Program estimates that 92% of the population faces some level of food insecurity and that 3 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition.

According to the report, deteriorating economic conditions have increased the population’s vulnerability to ISIS-K’s influence and recruitment. It warns that economic problems could distract the Taliban from taking action against ISIS-K and other potential terrorist groups.

ISIS-K, an ISIS ally in Afghanistan and Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack outside Kabul airport that killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans nearly a year ago, in the last chaotic days America return, The report released on Tuesday said the group had around 2,000 members as of April 2022.

The US has had some engagement with Taliban representatives, including in February 2020 discussing the Taliban’s commitment to combat terrorism.

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Scott Barrier, told Congress in May that al-Qaeda has so far faced difficulties in restructuring its leadership and that the Taliban have not allowed al-Qaeda to revive Is. , On Monday, President Biden announced a major blow to Al Qaeda – the last top planner of the 9/11 attacks on America, Ayman al-ZawahiriKnown as Osama bin Laden’s No. 2 man, was killed by the US over the weekend in a safehouse in Kabul.

So far no country has recognized the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan, but many countries, including China, have accepted Taliban diplomats. In March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Kabul to discuss Afghanistan’s mining sector and its role in Chinese infrastructure projects with the Taliban leadership.

According to the report, the war in Ukraine could exacerbate the problems facing Afghanistan, as Afghanistan relies heavily on imported food and fuel and on the generosity of international donors, whose focus may be increasingly focused on Ukraine rather than Afghanistan. Is.

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