One year after the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration continues to ignore the plight of Afghan women under the tight grip of the Taliban.

From an administration that presents itself as a champion of women’s rights, we have heard nothing but silence. This past March, the White House cast women’s rights at home and abroad as a cornerstone of the administration’s policy. Despite this pledge made on International Women’s Day, the Biden administration is quietly leaving thousands of Afghan women in dire circumstances. As the administration offers Afghan women empty words, they are busy emptying even the word “woman” of its meaning on the domestic front.

The White House does this by promoting a radical transgender agenda at home that violates basic women’s rights by denying what a woman is. Or, hypocritically, the White House reduces “women’s rights” to a singular focus on abortion. Meanwhile, the women of Afghanistan and the rights they lost remain widely forgotten and ignored.

Amid the domestic debates over what constitutes a woman and her rights, there’s some perspective to be gained by remembering what Afghan women are experiencing as they suffer the consequences of an American foreign policy disaster. While the U.S. concerns itself with denying objective biological truths, the reality for Afghan women is a desperate struggle to survive with little to no freedom.

In one year, the Taliban has denied Afghan women basic liberties that many Americans take for granted including what we wear, where we go, and who and when we marry. 

Besides forcefully stripping away these rights, the Taliban is committing atrocities such as imprisoning and abducting women. Detained Afghan women and girls reportedly told an undercover journalist that they had been in prison since last August for “so-called moral crimes.” No official records exist of their cases, corroborating other reports of Afghan women going missing—particularly female protestors.

If these horrendous conditions are what is being reported, then we can only imagine what goes on without making it into the news.

Girls, who just a year ago were attending school, are now the victims of forced and child marriages. Some teenagers attend secret schools. Others are married off prematurely to provide money for their impoverished families.

Mothers are giving birth in a risky environment created by a crumbling healthcare system, facing complications due to a lack of medical staff and medication. Wives stand in breadlines to provide for their children in the midst of  crippling economic instability and food shortages. Six million Afghans are projected to face near-famine conditions through November, according to a July 2022 report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Construction.

By the brutally enforced decrees of the Taliban, women are covering themselves from head to foot in burqas, afraid to leave their houses without a male guardian. Public life is forbidden to women. Many female workers have lost their jobs to men or seen their salaries cut.

Those who dare to disobey or oppose the strict measures face arrest, prison, torture and potentially death. In response to a rare protest of 40 women on August 15th, the Taliban reportedly beat fleeing protestors with their rifle butts. Other stories recount the torture of civilians and imprisoned female protestors.

Over the course of a year, the Biden administration has failed to acknowledge this terrible reality under the Taliban—all while forwarding its own domestic campaign of denying what a woman is. So much for women’s rights on both the foreign and domestic fronts—even if in very different ways. 

Credibility in the women’s rights arena begins at home. The Biden administration only undermines its reputation in that area by advocating for a radical transgender ideology, harming mothers, daughters and girls across the country. If the White House truly wants to promote women’s rights on the global stage—which it should—the administration must advocate for policies that support women here in the U.S. Protecting and affirming the inherent and unassimilable identity of women ingrained in their biology is a good place to start.

For the women hurting in Afghanistan, the White House must stop resorting to silence. Since the circumstances arose from U.S. foreign policy decisions, the Biden administration should publicly acknowledge the situation and lead the international community in condemning the Taliban. The U.S. should first set an example through elevating women and respecting their privacy, safety and equal opportunity at home. A long road to recovery lies ahead from the debacle in Afghanistan, but women are safer and better off worldwide when American leadership is strong and sure.