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Entire group of female US senators call on Biden to protect Afghan women's rights

HERAT, AFGHANISTAN - SEPTEMBER 14: Students are seen going to their school in Herat, Afghanistan on September 14, 2021. More than a month after the fall of Ashraf Ghani's government and the rise to power of the Taliban, girls from the first grade to the sixth grade in Herat continue their education freely. The Taliban have so far refused to allow them to study from the sixth grade onwards.Herat State University is also closed to girls. ( Stringer - Anadolu Agency )
Students are seen going to their school in Herat, Afghanistan on September 14, 2021 [Stringer - Anadolu Agency]

The entire contingent of US female senators called on President Joe Biden on Thursday to "preserve the political, economic, social and basic human rights" of Afghanistan's women and girls as the country grapples with hard line Taliban rule.

The bipartisan group of two-dozen lawmakers urged the president to "develop an inter-agency plan to preserve the political, economic, social and basic human rights of Afghan women and girls."

"American disengagement from Afghanistan puts at risk hard-won gains for Afghan women and girls," they wrote in a letter to Biden. "Lacking a legitimate Afghan government and military forces to protect them, women and girls are now suffering the predations of a Taliban regime with a track record of brutalizing, isolating and denying them life and liberty."

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The letter was led by Republican Senators, Joni Ernst, and her Democratic colleague, Dianne Feinstein.

The US, under Biden, withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of August, after the Taliban led a lightning offensive against the internationally-recognised government, taking the capital Kabul on 15 August, as former President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

Prior to the Taliban's takeover, an estimated 3.5 million girls were attending schools and 100,000 were enrolled in universities, the senators wrote. The former Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry further reported about 1,000 new female entrepreneurs in 2020.

The Taliban promised to preserve the rights of women and girls, but their nascent rule has been repeatedly criticised for failing to accomplish that pledge.

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UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said on 11 October, that he was "particularly alarmed to see promises made to Afghan women and girls by the Taliban being broken."

"Broken promises lead to broken dreams for the women and girls of Afghanistan," he said, maintaining that Afghanistan's women and girls "need to be the centre of attention."

Guterres said 80 percent of Afghanistan's economy is informal, with women playing "a preponderant role" there, as the economy collapses without the robust international aid seen during the US occupation.

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