Cantwell Joins All Women Senators in Bipartisan Letter to President: Protect Afghan Women and Girls

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined all 24 women senators in a bipartisan letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to protect the rights of Afghan women and girls following the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In the letter, the senators wrote, “In the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, we write to urge your Administration to develop an interagency plan to preserve the political, economic, social, and basic human rights of Afghan women and girls.”

They continue, “Last year an estimated 3.5 million girls were in school, with 100,000 women enrolled in public and private universities. Women also began to succeed in business and government…However, lacking a legitimate Afghan government and military forces to protect them, women and girls are now suffering the predations of a Taliban regime with a track record of brutalizing, isolating, and denying them life and liberty.”

“You have committed to press the Taliban to uphold the rights of women and girls, and you have stated that America will maintain an enduring partnership with the people of Afghanistan resisting Taliban rule. We will advise, support, and enable those efforts through legislation and engagement with your Administration. Afghan women and girls need our action now.”

Senator Cantwell has been outspoken on the need to support women and girls in Afghanistan and address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. In September, Senator Cantwell led a letter urging the Biden administration to create two specialized leadership positions to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, including the protection of women and girls. In August, Senator Cantwell joined 45 of her Senate colleagues in urging the Biden administration to take swift, robust action to protect and support Afghan women leaders facing danger following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul. Cantwell’s office is currently working on 1,800 open cases of individuals seeking safe passage out of Afghanistan.

Following a briefing in August on Afghanistan and U.S. evacuations, Cantwell stated, “I remain committed to the continued evacuations of Americans and our Afghan partners, and to providing humanitarian support to the Afghan people.”

To read the full letter, click here.

In addition to Cantwell, the letter is signed by Joni Ernst (R-IA), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).