Calls for women and religious minorities in Afghanistan to be protected

The international community is being called upon to do what it can to ensure the protection of women, children, and minorities in Afghanistan. 

The call coincides with the UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

Chaos continues to surround Kabul airport as thousands of Afghans attempt to flee the country before the Taliban stops evacuation flights for good. 

The International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) said the developments in Afghanistan were “distressing”. 

“We are deeply concerned about the targeting of and the violence and persecution faced by various groups in Afghanistan,” it said. 

“The international community must ensure the protection and safety of women, children and religious and ethnic minorities in Afghanistan and work towards an inclusive and just political settlement that upholds the human rights of all.” 

US President Joe Biden has set 31 August as the deadline for the rescue mission, but it is under increasing pressure to extend it because of warnings that there is not enough time to get everyone out. 

Former British army head, General Lord Richards, told BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House program that “there’s no doubt about it” that keeping troops in Afghanistan beyond 31 August would save lives.

He has urged the creation of an UN-led “multilateral humanitarian intervention operation” to keep access channels open to those beyond Kabul airport. 

“On this one, I think there might be an international consensus and the Taliban ironically might well welcome it, because the alternative is some very bad headlines come 1 September when we see starving Afghans and worse potentially, simply because they don’t have the capacity to deal with it,” he said.

There have been reports of deadly stampedes outside Kabul airport and crowds being fired upon. 

A spokesperson for the British Ministry of Defense said, “Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible.”