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Blinken names former US adviser Amiri as special envoy for Afghan women

“We desire a peaceful, stable, and secure Afghanistan,
where all Afghans can live and thrive in political, economic, and social
inclusivity. Special Envoy Amiri will work closely with me toward that
goal,” Blinken said in a statement.

Amiri has spent two decades advising governments, the United
Nations and think tanks on Afghanistan-related issues. Under former President Barack
Obama, she served as a senior adviser to the US special representative for
Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Blinken named Stephenie Foster, a State Department veteran,
as a new senior adviser for women and girls to US operations to evacuate and
resettle Afghans at risk of retaliation from the Taliban after it took over the
country.

The Taliban overran Afghanistan in August as the former
Western-backed government collapsed and the last US troops withdrew after 20
years of war.

Since then, the Taliban have curbed the rights of women and
girls, banning most of the former from working and most of the latter from
attending schools in what US officials decry as back-tracking by the Islamist
extremists from assurances they would observe human rights.

The Biden administration has come under fire from women’s
rights groups for failing to ensure safe passage for activists and others that
had long been targeted by the Taliban.

Amiri told Reuters earlier this year that the process of
evacuating women at risk had been a disaster.

Biden had made clear early on in high-level policy
discussions that concerns about women’s rights would not sway his decision to
exit Afghanistan, despite promising during the campaign to forge a
gender-sensitive foreign policy, she said.

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The Taliban earlier this week decreed that women travelling
more than 45 miles (72 km) should be accompanied by a close male family member.
They also banned the playing of music in vehicles.

The United States and other governments have accused the
Taliban of failing to establish an “inclusive” government and they have
expressed concern over reports of summary executions and the disappearances of
former Afghan security force members.

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