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Jewish Groups Sound Alarm on Afghanistan, Warn of Taliban’s Misogyny, Disregard for Human Rights

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy leader and negotiator, and other delegation members attend the Afghan peace conference in Moscow, Russia March 18, 2021. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS

Major Jewish organizations expressed “horror” at the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in recent days, pointing to the Islamist group’s long record of misogyny and human rights violations.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews’ President Marie van der Zyl said in a statement Tuesday, “UK Jews will share the world’s horror at the scenes unfolding in Afghanistan.”

“The Taliban’s sickening record of the repression of women and girls, and complete disregard for human rights, fill us all with great anxiety for the Afghan people,” she said.

Van der Zyl added, “We call on the UK government to expand on its plans for the resettlement of Afghan refugees, to whom the world now owes a duty of care and moral responsibility.”

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The President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt, also cited the Taliban’s misogyny, saying Wednesday, “We have a particular concern for women and girls given the Taliban’s deplorable record of the suppression of human rights and equality.”

“We must not let the Afghan people become subjected to the cruel repression of this barbaric regime and we call for the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” he said.

“The Afghan people — like all peoples of the world — deserve to live in safety, security, and dignity,” Goldschmidt asserted. “We continue to pray for the protection of innocent civilians.”

Like van der Zyl, he called for a global response to the crisis, saying, “The distressing situation in Afghanistan demands a compassionate and urgent response from international governments and communities alike. The images that we have seen of this unfolding situation are tragic and difficult to watch.”

At least three people were killed during anti-Taliban protests in the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, Reuters reported, as thousands continued efforts to flee the country in fear of the Islamist group’s rule.

Meanwhile, as the European Union of Jewish Students met Wednesday for the group’s general assembly, an “emergency motion” was submitted and adopted, to “show solidarity with the Afghan people and call Europe to evacuate our friends and helpers.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities joined in the concern over the Taliban’s disregard for human rights, saying, “We call on the international community to ensure that members of religious minority faiths and the women of Afghanistan are not targeted by the Taliban and should make any diplomatic engagement with the Taliban contingent on their safety and well-being.”

“Over the last year, as the Taliban took control of provinces, we have witnessed dangerous signs that bode ill for Afghanistan’s small and varied religious faiths,” they said. “This includes Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, and Shia Muslims.”

“We have no doubt that Taliban rule will prove to be devastating for Afghanistan’s minority communities,” the Task Force asserted.

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