US must stand by Afghan female activists

Abandoning Afghan translators and women who helped us, and embraced our values, will be an indelible stain on our country — no matter which party you embrace.



August 5, 2021 - 8:39 AM

Mourners carry the coffin of female news anchor Malalai Maiwand, who was shot dead by gunmen in Jalalabad on December 10, 2020. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

I wrote recently about an Afghan human rights activist who ran shelters for abused women but was forced by Taliban advances to flee her home. She is now in hiding in Kabul.

She won kudos from top U.S. officials for her work, including a major prize from the U.S. State Department, back in the days when administrations from both parties touted Afghan women’s gains as proof of U.S. success. But once President Joe Biden announced the final U.S. exit date from Afghanistan (now set for Aug. 31), activist women have become Taliban targets.

Although the Biden team has made some progress in issuing special immigrant visas (SIVs) to former Afghan translators for the U.S. military, no similar effort is being made to rescue endangered female activists.

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