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On International Women’s Day, Shaheen Participates in Virtual Discussion with POLITICO on the Future for Afghan Women & Girls

3.8.22 Politico Event

Shaheen joined an all-women panel discussion earlier today hosted by POLITICO’s Women Rule

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the only woman and a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, participated in a virtual panel hosted by POLITICO to discuss the challenges women and girls in Afghanistan face under Taliban rule and how the U.S. and international community can help protect women’s hard-fought rights and freedoms. The panel included Roya Rahmani, Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the U.S.; Hawa Haidari, a member of the Female Tactical Platoon; and Cindy McCain, Permanent Representative of the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture, and was moderated by Elizabeth Ralph, Deputy Editor of POLITICO Magazine.

“When we empower women to reach their full potential in the economy and their communities, it not only benefits women but societies as a whole. The global community must ensure Afghan women and girls are not forgotten, and we must prioritize efforts to safeguard the rights they fought so hard over decades to secure. We must continue to deny the Taliban recognition for as long as it continues its campaign of abuse and violence against women and vulnerable groups,” said Shaheen.

She continued: “Working with women-led networks on the ground is also key to addressing challenges posed by the Taliban’s violent rule. Afghan women continue to carry the burden of not just caring for their families, but often also distributing humanitarian aid to the communities who need it most. The U.S. has a moral imperative to listen to the women of Afghanistan in the months and years ahead and amplify their messages to continue pushing for their freedoms.” 

Shaheen has long championed for the rights of Afghan women and girls and has led Senate efforts to bolster Congressional support for these groups and human rights around the world. Shaheen expressed deep concerns about the United States’ unconditioned withdrawal from Afghanistan initiated by the previous administration, particularly out of concern for the immediate danger facing Afghan women and other groups vulnerable to the Taliban’s violence and oppression. Senator Shaheen has repeatedly fought to make the inclusion of Afghan women in negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government a U.S. foreign policy priority. Last year, Senator Shaheen met virtually with women members of Afghanistan’s Parliament to discuss the rights and futures of women and girls in Afghanistan. Shaheen also raised her concerns about the safety of women and girls with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, during a Senate Foreign Relations hearing. During a Congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan in 2019, Shaheen met with a group of Afghan women who described how dramatically their lives had improved since the Taliban government was toppled nearly two decades ago. Shaheen is the author of the Women, Peace and Security Actwhich was signed into law in 2017 and ensures women’s leadership roles in conflict resolution and peace negotiations. She has also led bipartisan efforts to address the unique barriers young girls in developing countries face in accessing a full education.

You can watch the full discussion here.