During an exclusive interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host Margaret Brennan pressed Harris on whether or not she believes women in Afghanistan — who have historically been subjected to oppressive restrictions under Taliban rule — were effectively “abandoned” by the United States when the Biden Administration withdrew troops from the country in August.
“I worry that the Taliban has not complied with what we know to be the appropriate treatment and the right treatment of girls and women,” Harris responded. “And that’s why we are taking the posture that we are with the Taliban right now because that’s one of our greatest considerations and concerns.”
—Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) December 26, 2021
When the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August, many women in the country reported they were fearful for their lives. Several expressed concern about the return of restrictive laws, including those that prohibit women from working, attending schools, or leaving their homes independently without being escorted by a male relative.
In the lead up to the US withdrawing its troops, the Taliban attempted to pose as moderate, despite years of operating a reign of terror that involved violent acts like suicide bombing and kidnappings. However, since its takeover, the militant group has resumed various restrictions on women including banning them from attending secondary school.
On Sunday, a Taliban official announced that women who are traveling “more than 45 miles should not be offered a ride” unless they are escorted by a male relative, France 24 reported.
Harris said that she stands by Biden’s decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan, adding that the US is working with the United Nations and other partners to “provide humanitarian assistance, bypassing the Taliban to make sure that we are supporting women and girls there.”
“One of our big issues in terms of any conversations with the Taliban is exactly this point, which is the condition, the status, and the treatment of women and girls, access to education, not to mention our concern about counterterrorism and what we need to do in terms of that threat,” she said.