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Conflating humanitarian aid and the release of Afghanistan's assets will only increase suffering.

Last August, after the Taliban took control of my country again, the harrowing image of two boys hanging and falling from a US plane evacuating Afghans circulated widely on social media. That plane embodied the difference between lives that…
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Taliban abuses demand action from countries with a ‘feminist foreign policy'

(New York) – Canada, France, Germany, and Sweden are four of only five countries that claim to have a “feminist foreign policy.” Each of them have also been deeply involved in Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s rollback of women’s rights poses a…
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Secondary schools have reopened for boys but remain closed to the vast majority of girls. Women are banned from most employment; the Taliban government added insult to injury by saying women in their employ could keep their jobs only if they…
Taliban violations of the rights of women and girls are uniquely extreme. No other country openly bars girls from studying on the basis of gender.
News

It Matters when the UN, Governments, and Aid Agencies Send Only Men to Talk to the Taliban

What do Turkmenistan and UNICEF have in common? How about the United Kingdom and the UNDP, and at least nine other countries and four other humanitarian and development organizations? They all appear to…
Taliban Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, center, meets with Sir Simon Gass, the British prime minister's high representative for Afghan transition, left, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 5, 2021.
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Report by Human Rights Watch Associate Director for Women’s Rights, Heather Barr

The plight of Afghan women under the Taliban was used in many countries to convince voters to support the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks on the US. “Only the terrorists and the Taliban forbid education to women,”…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
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Situation Worsening Every Day

There is no better symbol for the disappearance of women’s rights in Afghanistan than the end of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the return of the Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. When the Taliban on September 7 announced…
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In the first Taliban news conference after the group regained control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid sought to reassure women. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” he said. But Afghan women know the…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
News
Now that evacuations from Kabul’s airport have ended and the last foreign troops have gone, the focus shifts to the long-term human rights crisis in Afghanistan. The issue is what life will be like in Afghanistan—especially for women and girls—and what…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
News
Time is running out for tens of thousands of Afghans trying to flee the Taliban after their takeover of the country.  President Joe Biden stated on Friday that military forces stationed at Kabul airport have a “mission to…
Afghan families get off the Spanish military plane at the Torrejón de Ardoz military base in Madrid. The flight that left Kabul was carrying five Spaniards and 48 Afghan refugees, including 10 minors. 
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In a news conference on Tuesday, the first since the Taliban gained control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, the official Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid sought to reassure women. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” he said. “They are…
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Now that the Taliban are back, what does that mean for women's rights?

“But can we trust the Taliban on women’s rights?” has been a favorite question of journalists in recent years. The answer used to be “no”; the answer now is that it doesn’t matter much. The Taliban have swept back to power, and dealing with them…
A painted mural with Arabic writing on a building
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After Iranian women started sharing stories of sexual violence, the Iranian authorities have been forced to act.

Across the past three weeks, dozens of Iranian women of various backgrounds have taken to social media, in their own #MeToo moment, to report their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. The police have announced they have taken action against…
Iranian women wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus walk at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran on February 20, 2020.
News
This is a moment of both fear and hope for Afghan women — and an urgent time for the world to support their hard-won rights. The Feb. 29 deal between the US and the Taliban could pave the way for a peace that Afghans desperately seek.…
Women walk along a street in the old part of Kabul February 29, 2020.
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(London/Washington D.C.)  -- “I never come here, just because of boys,” Atifa says, pointing at the door of the stall. “They’re opening the door.” Atifa, a sixth grader in Kabul, Afghanistan, attends a school of 650 girls. Since they study in tents…
Girls in Afghanistan -- And everywhere else -- Need toilets
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“My sister finished the first year at school, but then she got tired and decided to leave. She walked four hours each way every day, so that made her tired,” Sabina, 12, who grew up in rural Balkh province, said. Sabina was able to study starting at age…
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It’s been a funny week. I’m in Kabul, Afghanistan, launching a new Human Rights Watch report I wrote about the lack of progress in girls’ education in Afghanistan. But in between meetings, in the back of a dusty Corolla, stalled at security checkpoints, I…
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