Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot
US Airforce cargo plane attempting to take off from Kabul airport surrounded by desperate Afghanis, Aug. 16, 2021.

Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN and International Organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar raised the alarm Tuesday at the UN Human Rights Council’s special session on Afghanistan.

“Israel remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Afghanistan,” Eilon-Shahar said in a statement at the UNHRC’s 31st special session.

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“We are extremely concerned about reports of violent crackdowns against the civilian population and human rights defenders. Freedom of assembly and expression must be ensured.

“We also urge those in power and authority to guarantee and safeguard the rights of women and girls,” Eilon-Shahar said. “We believe that women must play an equal part in all discussions about the future of Afghanistan in line with Resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council and subsequent resolutions.

“Over the previous month, Israel has also been alarmed by reports of targeted killing of women’s rights defenders and utterly condemn any violence against women and girls. Women and girls should not be scared to walk the streets, they should not be intimidated when they go to school, and they should not be subjected to violence for what they wear.

“Madam President,” she added, “The women of Afghanistan must be listened to. They must be heard.”

Although US President Joe Biden has made no final commitment either way, he appears to have little determination to extend the stay of American troops in Afghanistan, especially considering a statement from a Taliban spokesperson who said the group will oppose any extension of the deadline.

Biden made a commitment to withdraw all troops from the country by August 31, in accordance with a prior agreement made during the administration of then-President Donald Trump. Despite pleas and harangues from America’s European allies,

Biden has asked his national security team to come up with contingency plans in case the deadline must be extended slightly, according to a report by The Associated Press. In service of that goal, CIA Director William Burns met secretly on Monday with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, on Monday, US officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Biden’s decision not to extend the deadline is seen as a reflection of the American military concern about heightened security threats that are escalating by the day in Kabul and elsewhere around the country.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.