WASHINGTON: The United States has imposed visa restrictions against Taliban officials and other individuals ‘responsible for repressing Afghan women and girls’, hoping to persuade the regime to reconsider its repressive policies.

“Today I am announcing a visa restriction policy … to restrict the issuance of visas for current or former Taliban members, members of non-state security groups, and other individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, repressing women and girls in Afghanistan through restrictive policies and violence,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement issued on Tuesday evening.

In Kabul, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said the new US visa rules could have a “negative” impact on ties with Afghanistan’s government, which held talks with Washington this week.

Secretary Blinken also called on other governments to “join us in taking similar actions and to continue to underscore a collective message that only a government in Afghanistan that represents all its people and protects and promotes the human rights of every individual could be considered legitimate.”

He defined the actions that constitute the violation of US visa rules as discontinuing, restricting access to education for girls and women; preventing their participation in the workforce, restricting their movement, expression, or privacy.

Immediate family members of a violator may also be subject to these restrictions.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2022

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