Tuesday, March 5, 2024

US restricts visas for Taliban members

The US has put a visa restriction policy in place for members of the Taliban over the repression of women and girls in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says.

In a statement, Blinken noted Tuesday that despite previous assurances that the Taliban would respect the human rights of all Afghans, they have “issued and enforced a series of policies or edicts that effectively bar women and girls in Afghanistan from full participation in public life, including access to secondary education and work in most industries.”

Blinken cited a long list of policies the Taliban have imposed against women and girls since they came to power, including limiting access to secondary or higher education, preventing them from working and choosing their careers, and placing restrictions on their movement, expression and privacy.

He also highlighted the Taliban’s violence and harassment against women and girls.

The visa restriction policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act will apply to current and former Taliban members, members of nonstate security groups, and other individuals believed to be involved in repressing women and girls in Afghanistan through restrictive policies and violence.

Immediate family members of those sanctioned may also have their visas restricted, the State Department added.

“As a grim example, for more than a year, Afghanistan remains the only country in the world where girls are systemically barred from attending school beyond the sixth grade, with no return date in sight,” Blinken stated.

“The United States strongly supports the Afghan people and remains committed to doing all we can to protect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, including women and girls,” he continued.

Afghan women and groups around the world have been calling for the US to impose visa restrictions on Taliban officials for months.

Afghan women also recently took to Twitter and Instagram to call on the international community to take action against Taliban officials, using the hashtag “BanTalibanTravel,” which calls on the United Nations to reapply a travel ban on the Taliban’s senior leadership.

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