Two years after the Taliban movement overthrew the US-backed government in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed on Tuesday that any closer ties with the group’s leaders were contingent on improving the treatment of women.
No nation has recognized the Taliban government, and the US has refrained from direct economic engagement in part due to fears of a return to “gender apartheid,” where women and girls would be excluded from public places like schools.
Blinken told reporters, “We continue to try to hold the Taliban responsible for the many promises it has made but failed to keep, particularly when it comes to the rights of women and girls.
The path to any more normal relationship between the Taliban and other countries will be blocked unless and until, among other things, the rights of women and girls are actually supported, Blinken said.
“We’ve been very clear with the Taliban—and dozens of countries around the world have been very clear—that the path to any more normal relationship between the Taliban and other countries will be blocked.”
After President Joe Biden withdrew US troops, America’s longest conflict rapidly returned to the Taliban.
The Biden administration did not observe the anniversary, but in response to a query, Blinken justified the withdrawal and claimed that the US was not preoccupied with other matters.
The choice to leave Afghanistan was extremely difficult, but it was the right one, according to Blinken.
For the first time in 20 years, America’s longest war is over, and there will not be another generation of young people killed in combat.