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US sanctions Taliban officials over human rights abuses

AT News

KABUL – The U.S. Treasury has imposed sanctions on two Taliban officials, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi and Fariduddin Mahmood, citing their involvement in severe human rights violations, particularly the suppression of women and girls in Afghanistan. The move, announced on Friday, aligns with broader sanctions against individuals implicated in human rights abuses, coming just ahead of Human Rights Day on Sunday.

According to the Treasury Department, both Hanafi and Mahmood have played roles in perpetuating human rights abuses, including the restriction of women and girls’ access to secondary education in Afghanistan based solely on gender. This discriminatory policy, in effect since August 2021, has made Afghanistan the only country globally with a ban on women pursuing secondary education.

Fariduddin Mahmood, specifically implicated in the Taliban’s decision to close educational centers for women and girls after the sixth grade, has been designated under Executive Order 13818 for complicity in these serious human rights violations. Khalid Hanafi, serving as the Taliban’s “Minister” for the “Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” has been involved in additional human rights abuses, including killings and abductions, leading to his designation under the same executive order.

The designations reflect international concern and condemnation over the Taliban’s policies, particularly its restrictions on women’s rights, leading to widespread opposition and activism both within Afghanistan and globally. Activists advocating for girls’ education have faced violent responses from the Taliban, including attacks on protesters and journalists.

The U.S. sanctions underscore a commitment to holding individuals accountable for severe human rights abuses and corruption worldwide. The international community continues to closely monitor the situation in Afghanistan, taking measures to address ongoing human rights violations against women and girls.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the global scope of these sanctions, targeting individuals involved in gender-based violence and the oppression of women and girls on a worldwide scale. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stressed the severity of the sanctions as a demonstration of the commitment to upholding and defending human rights, emphasizing the importance of promoting accountability for such abuses. As of now, there has been no response from the Taliban administration regarding these sanctions.

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