Shaheen Wins Assurances Biden Will Look Out For Afghan Women
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, got assurances during a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the administration shares her concern for women, children and minorities in Afghanistan and will look out for them after America's military withdrawal.
Shaheen and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tuesday and expressed disappointment at the way the 20-year war ended and the large number of Americans and Afghans who were left behind.
“Mr. Secretary, the execution of the U.S. withdrawal was clearly and fatally flawed,” Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, said. “This committee expects to receive a full explanation of this Administration’s decisions on Afghanistan since coming into office last January. There has to be accountability.”
During her time to question Blinken, Shaheen said that her requests in the past for special visas so women, children and minorities could come to the United States were blocked by Senate Republicans. She also blamed the deal cut by the Trump administration for allowing the Taliban to gain strength and use it to quickly take over the country in the days before the U.S. military left.
"I want to know where that outrage was during the negotiations by the Trump administration and former Secretary Pompeo when they were giving away the rights of women and girls and when Secretary Pompeo came before this committee and blew off questions about what they were doing to pressure the Taliban to have women at the negotiating table for that peace treaty. I think there is a lot of regret, and a lot of recriminations to go around,” said Shaheen.
New Hampshire's senior Senator was ready to move on and work with the Biden administration for future protections.
"The important thing for us to do now is to figure out how to work together to address those people who still need to be evacuated from Afghanistan and also ensure that we can do everything possible with the international community to help protect the human rights of the woman and girls who remain in the country and those minorities," Shaheen said.
Blinken said he will appoint a senior State Department official to oversee the administration’s efforts to protect women, girls and minorities in Afghanistan.
The secretary also underscored the Department’s continued efforts and commitment to accomplish this policy and moral priority through building international pressure on the Taliban and targeted assistance.
Two state resettlement agencies have submitted proposals to their national resettlement agencies to bring over 100 Afghan refugees to New Hampshire but approval of the plan will not be immediate.