Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Zieba Shorish-Shamley of the Women’s Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan condemned the Taliban’s oppression of women and girls at a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs held July 20th. “People living under Taliban rule are subjected to an extreme interpretation of Islam practiced nowhere else in the world. It is especially repressive toward women,” remarked Senator Boxer, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. In her questioning of witness Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth, Senator Boxer proposed that special refugee status be granted to Afghan women and girls. Inderfurth responded that the State Department would consider her proposal. More aid to Afghan NGOs and refugees and increased involvement of women in the peace process are necessary to safeguarding women’s rights, according to Shorish-Shamley. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), who chaired the hearing, said that the Taliban rule was “suffocating” women and girls in Afghanistan and called upon Congress to take steps to end the atrocities in Afghanistan. The witnesses at the hearing also testified that Afghanistan’s terrorism and drug trafficking pose threats to global stability, and that multilateral cooperation will be crucial to ensuring a peaceful transition for Afghanistan. Continued pressure on Pakistan, which is suspected of funding the Taliban regime, will be also be critical to restoring women’s rights and human rights in Afghanistan.