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U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate, is joining a bipartisan group of female senators in urging President Biden to take action after the Taliban reneged on a commitment to allow Afghan girls to return to secondary school.

Ernst, who has been a vocal champion for protecting the rights of Afghan women and girls following the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from the country, previously led every single female senator—all 24—in a bipartisan letter calling on him to do so.

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In their letter today led by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the senators write to the president: “While we are not surprised that the Taliban has once again dismissed the rights of girls and young women, we are alarmed by the implications of their decision for 50 percent of the population and the future of Afghanistan. To this end, we urge you to convey clear consequences to the Taliban for their actions, and take immediate steps to bolster support for Afghan women and girls.”

The senators also addressed the dire humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and called for the administration to, “…engage the women of Afghanistan as our partners in mobilizing the provision of food assistance, maternal and child health needs and education, not only for women and girls but for all Afghans. The humanitarian crisis has crippled Afghanistan and left 95 percent of Afghans hungry. In the face of such unprecedented strife, it is the Afghan women who have developed assistance networks and communal groups to support their families and communities. The U.S. and the international community must tackle any obstacles to engaging women activists and fully empower women’s groups in decision-making and programming to funnel assistance to those who need it most.”

In closing, the senators reiterated how critical it is to protect the two decades of progress on women’s rights that Afghan women fought to secure.

Last week, following the Taliban’s decision to renege on its promise to open schools to Afghan girls above the sixth grade, Ernst joined Shaheen and Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) in condemning the Taliban’s “assault on women’s education, rights and freedoms in Afghanistan.”

Author: Press Release

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