As a global women’s movement of grassroots activists, we have stood with the women of Afghanistan for 20 years against this ill thought-out war that was never in support of the Afghan women, and this exit proves that.
One Billion Rising condemns the anti-democratic Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. We condemn the United States, who after 20 years of military occupation and endless war, have withdrawn the last US forces with seemingly no thought to the lives of the women, girls, and people of Afghanistan, their security, or their future, already damaged in the years of war.
What has this war accomplished? If we look to basic facts, 20 years ago, the Afghanistan infant mortality ratio was the highest in the world and it still is today. The US ‘war against terror’ and for ’women’s rights’ has left tens of thousands of Afghan civilians dead, wasted billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, and gave the Taliban terrorists – now more powerful and deadlier than ever – a seat at table, and effectively handed over Afghanistan to them.
Violence has been increasing well in advance of the final withdrawal of US troops a week ago. A recent report from the UN and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) states that more women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009. Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that as the Taliban advances, “reports are emerging of women in newly captured territory being forced to marry fighters, publicly flogged and forced to stay at home.” Schools and women run businesses are closing either by militia decree or in fear, Afghans are fleeing for their lives with 244,000 people internally displaced since May, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
One Billion Rising calls for an immediate global strategic action plan for humanitarian support for the Afghan people. We call upon the international community to act without delay, learn from the past and work towards non-military solutions, leading with humanitarian support and creating a humanitarian corridor so that such support can reach Afghans in order to save them from any further harm and violence. We demand that the borders are opened immediately so that all at risk Afghan civilians may find refuge with or without passports/visa, with full infrastructural support for their safety in the country of arrival, and a loosening of visa requirements.
Now, after the disastrous consequences of war in Afghanistan led by outside forces, we call for a new day in foreign policy. We call for support of a community led vision for justice and peace that is both informed by and led by the Afghan people, prioritizing their wellbeing, not that of fundamentalists, warlords or global superpowers. This is ultimately a call for a feminist foreign policy that interrogates the systems of power and that puts people on the ground first in determining their future.
One Billion Rising and V-Day have a long history of solidarity with our Afghan sisters – activists who have amplified the situation on the ground for over twenty years, leaders who have worked tirelessly and creatively to support women and girls and their families.
We stand with and we RISE in solidarity with the Afghan people until the violence stops.