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Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has invited former Afghan Ambassador to the United States Roya Rahmani to be his guest for the State of the Union next week. Ambassador Rahmani was Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the United States, serving in the post from December 2018 until July 2021, as well as Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to Indonesia and ASEAN. Ambassador Rahmani has been an outspoken champion for women’s rights both in Afghanistan and around the world. Combining her knowledge and skills and personal experiences, Ambassador Rahmani continues to advocate for women’s rights, including her service as a Distinguished Fellow at Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

“I’m so pleased Ambassador Roya Rahmani will join me at the State of the Union as my personal guest,” stated Chairman McCaul. “Since the United States unilaterally withdrew from Afghanistan last year, paving the way for the Taliban to take over, the situation for women in the country has become dire. Women there – many of whom only ever knew the freedoms of the last 20 years – no longer have rights. They must remain fully covered outside of their homes. They can’t go to school. They can’t even be outside without a male companion. I hope my invitation and Ambassador Rahamani’s presence will send a signal to the women of Afghanistan that they have not been forgotten. I am going to fight every day to hold those responsible accountable for what happened, and to help Afghan women in any way I can.”

Background on the Current Situation in Afghanistan for Women

  • Mursal Nabizada, a former female member of Parliament, was shot and killed in her home in Afghanistan in January 2023
  • The Taliban recently enacted an edict barring women and girls from education above 6th grade. They are the only country in world to do so.
  • The Taliban recently enacted an edict barring female NGO members from working, effectively making it impossible to get critical humanitarian aid to women in Afghanistan while the country faces starvation at devastating numbers. Afghanistan has the highest levels of people facing severe hunger in the world.
  • Women in Afghanistan are prohibited from going to parks or gyms or playing sports.
  • Women in Afghanistan receive public lashings for traveling outside without a male guardian. This keeps many women from being able to hold a job.
  • Due to the harsh laws, Afghan households without men in them – an estimated 25% of households – are forced to be confined to their homes, unable to receive an income or receive humanitarian assistance.