Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie on Afghanistan’s unfolding turmoil, after US troops withdrew from the country leaving room for the Taliban to seize administration, has said she is ashamed as an American as to the manner of their leaving. “It diminishes us,” she says.
A philanthropist and vocal advocate for the rights of the marginalised, the 46-year-old humanitarian has contributed to global causes extensively over the years, especially in support of refugees and vulnerable communities in war-torn countries by undertaking field missions and charity.
For an op-ed in TIME, Jolie has expressed deep anguish at the current state of Afghan people grappling with the chaos that is a result of her country “abandoning” their allies and supporters to “cut and run.” Holding up the efforts made over two decades to bring Afghanistan back to life after Taliban rule ended in 2001, Jolie writes recent events appear to be “a betrayal and a failure.”
Last week, Jolie made her debut on Instagram, with record-breaking numbers, her first post dedicated to Afghans.
“I’ve come on Instagram to share their stories and the voices of those across the globe who are fighting for their basic human rights,” she wrote.
“Should Not Have Ended This Way”: Angelina Jolie On Afghanistan Crisis
Jolie writes further on Afghan girls and women “who have the most to fear” and who “deserve so much better.”
Within a week of its rule, the Taliban have pushed back on several women’s rights despite promises otherwise. There are reports of armed fighters patrolling streets that women have fearfully abandoned, diktats of compulsory hijab-wearing, allegations of terrorists demanding underage girls for marriage and ‘sex slavery‘ and visuals of women’s erasure from public spaces.
The fundamentalist Islamist outfit, during their 1996-2001 regime in Afghanistan, imposed a severe reading of the sharia law that directly impacted women’s existence in the country. Music, education, employment, cross-gender healthcare were all banned – regulations Afghan women today fear might make a return once the Taliban attains government status.
As told to SheThePeople, there is a unanimous understanding among Afghan activists, artists and political speakers that the Taliban will likely undo the progress they made in liberating women and girls over decades.
The future Afghan government should be judged on their behaviour towards human rights, Jolie says, and in particular “whether Afghan women and girls maintain the rights they have gained.”