Iowa senator wants Biden administration to use more force to protect Afghan women & girls

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst is calling on the president to act to restore the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.
Afghan women
Afghan women(DC Bureau)
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 10:16 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - In the wake of the United States’ controversial pullout from Afghanistan last August, the future of Afghan women and girls hangs in the balance.

“Girls can still not go to school beyond sixth grade,” said Jawaid Kotwal of the Afghan Academy in Virginia.

Kotwal advocates on behalf of Afghan women and girls.

With much of the country now food insecure and facing famine, refugee activists say young girls are being sold or married off to older men so their families can buy food.

Women senators including Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) are calling on the Biden administration to act.

“There needs to be more force coming from this administration,” said Ernst. “We’ve watched over the last year as the Taliban has really unraveled the women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan.”

Last November, all 24 women senators led by Senators Ernst and Diane Feinstein of California sent a bipartisan letter to the president asking him to “develop an interagency plan to preserve the political, economic, social and basic human rights of Afghan women and girls.”

Ernst says she would like to see the continuing freezing of Afghanistan’s funds until the treatment of women and girls is improved.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price made these comments at a press briefing on August 16, 2022 on the issue: “The fact that the Taliban has failed to stand up for, to protect the rights of all of the people of Afghanistan – especially the women, the girls, the religious minorities, ethnic minorities – that, of course, is a failure on the part of the Taliban as well.”

Price made the comments after being asked if the Biden administration intends on facilitating the release of the $3.5 billion in Afghanistan’s Central Bank reserves it’s currently holding.

The U.S. State Department says it doesn’t see a release happening anytime soon due to fears the money may fall in the hands of terrorist groups.

The Gray Washington News Bureau reached out to the White House for this report. We did not hear back.