Senators Hyde-Smith, Wicker comment on the one-year mark, expressing concern for the people left under the Taliban’s oppression.

A year ago, twenty years after being removed from power in a U.S.-led invasion, Taliban militiamen swept into Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul.

NBC News reported that at least 43% of the population is now living on less than one meal a day and 97% of Afghans are expected to be living below the poverty line by the end of this year. 

The White House plans to mark the anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan later this month, according to NPR.

Mississippi U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) said that a year ago, Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, marking one year of oppression for all the women living under the regime.

On Monday, three United Nations (UN) agencies reported that a year of Taliban rule in Afghanistan has led to a deterioration in the lives of women and girls, affecting all aspects of their human rights.

“It has been a year of increasing disrespect for their right to live free and equal lives, denying them opportunity to livelihoods, access to health care and education, and escape from situations of violence,” said Sima Bahous, Executive Director at UN Women.

“The Taliban’s meticulously constructed policies of inequality set Afghanistan apart. It is the only country in the world where girls are banned from going to high school,” Bahous continued. “There are no women in the Taliban’s cabinet, no Ministry of Women’s Affairs, thereby effectively removing women’s right to political participation. Women are, for the most part, also restricted from working outside the home, and are required to cover their faces in public and to have a male chaperone when they travel. Furthermore, they continue to be subjected to multiple forms of gender-based violence.”

Head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Natalia Kanem, pointed out Afghanistan remains in the grip of a deep economic and humanitarian crisis.

“Afghanistan was already struggling with education even before the Taliban takeover last August, as more than four million children were already out of school, 60 per cent of them girls,” said an article from UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Forbidding girls from attending secondary school also has a monetary cost, according to a new analysis by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The analysis shows that the country loses 2.5 per cent of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) because of the decision.

“Soaring food and fuel prices – worsened by a drought and the war in Ukraine – mean that roughly 95 per cent of the population, and nearly all female-headed households, do not get enough to eat,” UN Women continued.

Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker said that one year ago, “Kabul fell to the Taliban and President Biden presided over a botched evacuation that left thousands of our allies behind. It was a crisis that was entirely preventable.”

Both Mississippi Senators joined over twenty of their colleagues last year in demanding answers from the President regarding how the United States left Afghanistan.

“The signatories of this letter may have differing opinions about whether the United States should have maintained a military presence in Afghanistan, but we all agree that the arbitrary and poorly-planned method by which you withdrew from Afghanistan caused this crisis,” the Senators wrote.

“We request thorough, unclassified answers to these questions that can be made available to the general public.  Americans need to see that the United States will not abandon them to terrorists abroad forever,” the Senators said.

Last year, Representatives Michael Guest (MS-03), Steven Palazzo (MS-04), and Trent Kelly (MS-01) also sent a letter to President Biden expressing their disapproval of his decision not to extend the Afghanistan withdrawal deadline and encouraging his Administration to extend the deployment of U.S. resources and military forces until all Americans and American allies have been evacuated or deemed safe.

“We urge your Administration to ensure that adequate resources remain in Afghanistan until our citizens and allies are safe and this mission is complete,” the lawmakers wrote.