Remarks at a UN Side Event on Ensuring International Cooperation in Support of Afghan Women and Girls

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
October 21, 2021


Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you to our co-hosts for convening this important discussion today, as well as to our panelists for their candor, critical insights, and impact.

The United States remains profoundly concerned about the human rights situation of Afghan women and girls. We’ve heard from our panelists the restrictions on education, access to work, and freedom of movement. The exclusion of women from government structures and other governance and security processes, as well as reports of increased instances of gender-based violence, including forced marriage, are also alarming.

The women and girls of Afghanistan, just like all Afghans, deserve to have their human rights and fundamental freedoms respected. It’s for that very reason that human rights, including the full and meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society, were a key focus of the U.S. delegation’s discussions in recent meetings with senior Taliban representatives in Doha on October 9 and 10.

We continue to engage in relentless diplomacy to support the people of Afghanistan, including its women and girls. We have made clear to Taliban representatives that women’s ability to access all levels of education is vital. And we will condemn any abuses against women the Taliban commits, which would violate public commitments by Taliban leaders to seek peace and reconciliation for all Afghans.

In our discussion with the Taliban, we have also emphasized that freedom of movement for women humanitarian staff and women beneficiaries is of utmost importance to the continued delivery of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. As the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, the United States is committed to helping our partners on the ground provide lifesaving support.

Our aid – including the nearly $64 million in new humanitarian assistance we announced in September – we hope, will help address the protection concerns of women, children, and minorities, as well as help more children, including girls, go back to school. Permitting both female and male aid workers to operate freely is critical to the success of this work.

The UN Security Council has set out our unified expectations for a united, inclusive, and representative government, and the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in Afghanistan. The credibility and support that the Taliban seeks from the international community will depend on the behavior it exhibits. We are watching closely to see that the progress made for women and girls over the past 20 years is sustained.

Thank you, Madam Chair.