The US imposes visa restrictions on Taliban officials over women’s rights abuses

The US government has announced it has imposed visa restrictions on a number of current and former Taliban leaders and members over the group’s oppression of women and girls in Afghanistan.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said in a statement on Wednesday:

“I am taking action today to impose additional visa restrictions on certain current or former Taliban members, members of non-state security groups, and other individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, repressing women and girls in Afghanistan through restrictive policies and violence, including the Taliban’s decision to ban women from universities and from working with NGOs.  The immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these visa restrictions, enacted under Section 212(a)(3)(C) (“3C”) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“So far, the Taliban’s actions have forced over one million school-aged Afghan girls and young women out of the classroom, with more women out of universities and countless Afghan women out of the workforce. These numbers will only grow as time goes on, worsening the country’s already dire economic and humanitarian crises. ”

The Taliban’s Foreign Ministry has said Washington’s decision “an obstacle to the development of ties between the two sides,” and the US must “remain committed to the Doha Agreement.”