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U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs

09/18/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2020 10:46

Engel & McCaul Urge Afghan Leaders to Empower Women Throughout Peace Process

Washington, D.C.-Representatives Michael McCaul, Republican Leader of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Eliot Engel, the Committee's Chairman, sent a letter to Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, advocating for Afghan women's empowerment to remain a key focus of the peace process and a permanent Afghan Government priority.

'The presence of Afghan women on the government's side of the negotiating table is a positive sign, but the negotiating team must make unequivocally and abundantly clear that women will have a significant role to play in any future Afghanistan,' wrote the lawmakers.'At such a critical moment in Afghanistan's future, we offer our unwavering support and encouragement for the progress that your country has made in the area of women's empowerment and urge you to make this an ongoing priority of your government.'

Full text of the letter can be found here or below.

Dear President Ghani and Chairman Abdullah,

As longtime supporters of a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Afghanistan we are hopeful that the negotiations your government has entered into with the Taliban will result in an end to the fighting. The Afghan people have endured pain and hardship in seeking peace and they deserve a future that honors these efforts.

Our countries have worked together to promote and protect rights for women, girls, and minorities in the years following Taliban rule. We are proud of the progress Afghanistan has achieved on these fronts and underscore the importance of preserving these advances. The level of violence against prominent women in Afghan political society and the mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters who live in fear throughout Afghanistan cannot continue. The presence of Afghan women on the government's side of the negotiating table is a positive sign, but the negotiating team must make unequivocally and abundantly clear that women will have a significant role to play in any future Afghanistan.

The 2018 appointment of the first female Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Roya Rahmani, demonstrates the progress Afghanistan has made regarding women's roles in society and leadership. Ambassador Rahmani has been a fierce champion for the Afghan people, and we in Congress have relished the opportunity to work alongside her. Her work for your country should provide a powerful example during the negotiations of the effective role women play today and will continue to play in Afghanistan.

At such a critical moment in Afghanistan's future, we offer our unwavering support and encouragement for the progress that your country has made in the area of women's empowerment and urge you to make this an ongoing priority of your government. A robust commitment to human rights and democratic principles, including equality and respect for all citizens, will be the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan.

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