Progressives in Congress who are otherwise outspoken on women’s rights have remained noticeably quiet on the plight of Afghan women ever since the Taliban completed its takeover of the country more than two weeks ago.
The U.S. evacuation effort at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, is expected to conclude Tuesday, more than two weeks after the capital’s collapse on Aug. 15.
Roya Rahmani, who served as the first female Afghanistan ambassador to the United States until last month, said Sunday that Afghan women are “in a state of panic” over what their fate will entail once the U.S. completes its withdrawal.
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Reports on the ground paint a dire picture for Afghan women, who have generally enjoyed basic freedoms like education and employment in the 20 years since the Taliban’s ouster by U.S.-led forces.
Now that the Taliban have retaken the country, they’ve launched a propaganda campaign in efforts to rebrand themselves as modern and evolved, even offering women a place in their government as is allowed by Islamic Sharia law. Last week, a Taliban spokesman instructed women to cover their bodies and faces and to stay inside their homes, saying fighters hadn’t been trained to respect women.
While most congressional progressives have advocated for the U.S. to accept hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees, many of them have also been silent on the fate of Afghan women and girls now that it appears many of them will be left behind. They have also declined to criticize President Biden, who just last month said a Taliban takeover was not likely and that he trusted the capacity of the Afghan military.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., a prolific tweeter with more than 13 million followers shared among two Twitter accounts, has declined to highlight the struggles of Afghan women on the social media platform. She did, however, co-sign a letter calling on the Biden administration to extend humanitarian parole to vulnerable refugees, including women.
“We have a moral obligation to the Afghan people,” she tweeted the day after Kabul’s collapse. “The U.S. role in this crisis is indisputable. We must waste no time or expense in helping refugees safely & swiftly leave Afghanistan. We must immediately welcome them to the U.S. & provide real support as they rebuild their lives.”
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Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., who supported President Biden’s troop withdrawal, has offered to help Afghans seeking refuge in the U.S. but has made no specific mention of the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan.
“As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, let’s remember that we need equity for Black women. And especially Black trans women,” Bush tweeted to her 94,000 followers on Thursday, the same day ISIS-K suicide bombers attacked the airport in Kabul, killing 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 Afghans. She tweeted later that day that her “heart breaks for all the lives lost today, and every day over the last 20 years. Endless war is never the answer.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., has also decided not to specifically mention the struggles of Afghan women. On Thursday, she tweeted to her millions of followers: “This #WomensEqualityDay, let’s recommit to building a new table that gives an equal voice to ALL women.” She tweeted earlier that she was “heartbroken” by the Kabul attack.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has a combined 27.5 million Twitter followers, has also declined to mention Afghan women since the Taliban takeover.
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“Today, we mourn the loss of the members of the U.S. military killed at Kabul Airport,” he wrote Thursday. “These soldiers played an extraordinary role in helping to evacuate over 80,000 people – Americans and Afghans. Their bravery and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
The offices of Bush, Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.