US is seeking unified response to the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s rights

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, began a seven-day trip on Sunday to Pakistan, Germany, and Switzerland to work out a “unified regional and international response” to the Taliban’s restrictions on women and girls’ rights.

“The Taliban’s recent edicts have presented the international community with extraordinary challenges as we seek to support the Afghan people and protect our interests.  SRA West will work with counterparts to refine a unified regional and international response that reflects a collective commitment to Afghan women and girls’ rights and access to vital aid,” the US State Department said on Sunday.

Thomas West, the US State Department, said, will consult with international actors, Afghans and aid agencies.

Adding to the previous restrictions on women and girls’ rights to education and work, the Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education issued a decree on Saturday, banning female students from taking part in the countrywide university entrance exam in the coming spring.

In its latest ban on women, the group’s Ministry of Higher Education barred on Saturday female students from taking part in the countrywide university entrance exams in the coming spring.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said it was “disappointment over the decision.” And the Taliban armed group, the National Resistance Front (NRF) called for “practical measures” from the international community.

Shortly after returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban banned girls from secondary schools, and in December last year, it ordered a ban on women from universities, which the group defended as “necessary to prevent the mixing of genders.”

Despite international condemnations, the Taliban leadership have refused to change course on restrictions on women and girls.