Women’s fate under Taliban rule worries U.S. House members

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Escobar, Garcia and leaders of Democratic Women’s Caucus leery of insurgents’ track record on gender rights

Women wait inside a factory to get their oxygen cylinders refilled from a privately owned oxygen factory, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, June 19, 2021. Health officials say Afghanistan is fast running out of oxygen as a deadly third surge of COVID worsen. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Leaders of the Democratic Women’s Caucus are expressing concern about the fate of women under Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

“We are deeply concerned about the future of Afghan women and girls as the Taliban retakes control of the nation,” the caucus said in a statement signed by its four co-chairs and Vice-Chairs U.S. Reps. Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, Texans who represent El Paso and Houston, respectively.

The Democrats said when the Taliban last controlled Afghanistan in the early 2000s, women were subjugated and young girls were denied access to education.

“In the past 20 years, Afghan women and girls have made tremendous gains,” caucus leaders said, citing a 19% rise in literacy rates, a 9-year increase in life expectancy and a 27% presence in the Parliament. “This tremendous progress must not be allowed to evaporate. Women must continue participating in all aspects of society and shape the path forward toward a sustainable peace for their country.”

A Taliban spokesman on Tuesday pledged to honor women’s rights, but “within the norms of Islamic law,” the Associated Press reported.

The Department of Defense is leading the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies, with Fort Bliss, Texas and Camp McCoy in Wisconsin being considered as possible temporary sites.

“I strongly support the Department of Defense’s decision to consider Fort Bliss and other U.S. military installation sites to resettle vulnerable Afghans. America must act swiftly to get our partners out of harm’s way and El Paso stands ready to welcome them and their families,” Escobar said in a tweet.

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