Last week (December 29), U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appointed Rina Amiri as the Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls and Human Rights and Stephanie Foster as the new Senior Advisor for Women and Girls within the State Department’s Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts (CARE) team. Both women have years of experience working for women’s rights and equality.
Amiri, an Afghan American leader who has publicly criticized the “chaotic” withdrawal from Afghanistan, has at least two decades of experience and was a senior advisor to the Obama Administration as a special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Blinken said in the announcement of her appointment that Amiri will work closely with him for the goal of “a peaceful, stable, and secure Afghanistan.” Amiri is well connected to Afghan women leaders and activists.
Foster, who is considered a State Department veteran, will enhance U.S operations to evacuate and resettle for at-risk Afghan women and girls who are especially endangered by the Taliban regime because of their work for women’s rights. Amiri has also criticized, according to Reuters, the process for evacuating Afghan women at risk and has called it a “disaster.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban continues curbing or eliminating Afghan women and girls’ rights. Recently the Taliban has decreed that Afghan women cannot travel more than 45 miles without being accompanied by a close male family member. The Taliban has essentially stopped the education of girls and women past the seventh grade, has stopped women from working outside the home, and has eliminated them from all decision-making positions. Plus women’s rights leaders and activists, journalists (male and female), women judges, and the list goes on, have been assassinated.