The Obama Administration declared Thursday that U.S. troops will remain on the ground in Afghanistan through the end of the president’s term in 2017. Below is a statement from the Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms., supporting the decision.
The Feminist Majority Foundation supports President Obama’s decision to delay the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. This vital decision—which leaves only 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of 2016 and 5,500 troops thereafter—provides an opportunity for Afghan security forces to strengthen their ability to defeat the Taliban and the growing threat of ISIS within the country. This decision also helps to ensure the safety of Afghan women, who have been continuously targeted by the Taliban and ISIS.
“Afghan women and girls have made, and continue to make, tremendous gains. President Obama’s decision to leave support troops in Afghanistan will hopefully allow these women to sustain and increase these gains in the long term,” said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. “The recent situation in Kunduz shows that threats to the security of the Afghan people, especially Afghan women, are real. This is no time to leave Afghanistan completely. President Obama has made a difficult, but necessary, decision.”
Just this month, Taliban insurgents captured the Northern city of Kunduz before being pushed back by the Afghan army, which has had total responsibility for Afghan security since the beginning of this year. While the city was under siege, the Taliban targeted women and girls with death, rape and violence. They destroyed girls’ schools, threatened women living in shelters and burned down a woman-owned media outlet, Roshani Radio and TV, which focused primarily on covering women issues and employed a majority of women.
“Afghan women and girls have come too far to be forced to turn back,” declared Smeal. “If the Taliban returns, or if ISIS is allowed to come to power, too many of the girls who have gone to school, too many of the women who have gone to work and who have taken on leadership in government or civil society, will be killed. The U.S., NATO and the world have a moral obligation to stand with these women.”
The U.S. is a part of a 42-nation coalition providing training to Afghan forces and supporting counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan. U.S. troops will be stationed strategically at bases near Kabul, Jalalabad and Kandahar while they complete their limited mission.
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