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Photo above: At a protest in Kabul on August 14, 2022, women chant, “Food. Work. Freedom.” 

One year after the fall of Kabul, Vital Voices is renewing the call, once again, to not forget about Afghan women and girls. Immediate and long-term efforts are both critical. Urgent humanitarian assistance is needed to address record levels of hunger, which now affect nearly 20 million people in Afghanistan, especially women and children. Sustained, holistic support for evacuated, resettled and remaining women leaders is also crucial to future hopes for peace and security. 

Our message on this anniversary is simple: all of us have a role to play to ensure that safe, sustainable futures are possible for all Afghan people, especially women and girls, who are the most vulnerable.

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, Afghan girls have been barred from secondary school, child marriages have increased, women have been banned from going to work. Violence against women has become widespread, and women activists have been systematically targeted and assassinated.

In the last 12 months, through the Emergency Fund for Afghan Women, Vital Voices and our partners evacuated nearly 1,200 at-risk women leaders and their family members, and most have already been resettled into new permanent homes. We have provided holistic support to the families being resettled, including psychosocial and trauma counseling, case management, educational support and legal aid. Our work continues and our commitment is unwavering.

Our efforts have been possible with the collaboration of dedicated partners including Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the U.S. Department of State, Mina’s List, human rights expert and founder of Women for Women International Zainab Salbi, and trusted on-the-ground humanitarian organizations.

We are encouraged by the recent introduction of the bipartisan Afghanistan Adjustment Act, which would create a path to citizenship for thousands of Afghan evacuees now living in the United States. This legislation represents an important step forward, and yet so much more is needed. 

Commitments to defend the human rights of Afghan women and girls must be honored by world governments, institutions and organizations. We cannot allow the deepening humanitarian, economic and social crises in Afghanistan to go unaddressed. If we fail to act, the country will slide even further backwards, and generations will be at risk of living under pre-9/11 days of repression and extremist rule.