State Department Appoints 2 Veteran Officials to Champion Help For Afghan Girls and Women

Women in Afghanistan are increasingly bearing the brunt of the humanitarian crisis after the exit of U.S. military forces in August

Rina Amiri Afghanistan
Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

The State Department on Wednesday announced the appointment of two veteran government officials to lead the Biden administration's efforts to improve conditions for Afghan women and girls almost four months after the U.S. withdrawal.

The United Nations and other international agencies report that women and girls in Afghanistan are increasingly bearing the brunt of the humanitarian crisis after U.S. military forces left in August after nearly two decades of conflict.

In a statement on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken appointed Rina Amiri as special envoy for Afghan women, girls and human rights. Amiri was a senior adviser to the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Obama administration. She was also a member of the U.N. secretary general’s political team in Afghanistan.

Blinken also appointed Stephenie Foster, another State Department veteran, as senior adviser for women and girls issues as part of the agency's team for Afghan relocation efforts.

The International Rescue Committee ranked Afghanistan last out of 170 countries on women’s rights. According to the U.N., since the U.S. withdrawal and the Taliban takeover, women and girls have faced even greater obstacles in getting educations, working or participating in society.

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In the past 20 years women in Afghanistan made progress in education and politics, but international critics are skeptical that the Taliban will keep promises to respect the rights of women and girls. The Taliban had said it would open high schools for girls but recently backtracked on that decision. We hear from Rina Amiri, a former Obama administration adviser for Afghanistan and Pakistan now at New York University.
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