The ruling Taliban in Afghanistan reacted strongly to reports that a US military officer forcibly removed a child from an Afghan couple who came to the United States as refugees.
The couple filed a federal lawsuit against Marine Corps Attorney Maj. Joshua Mast and his wife last month accusing them of abducting their infant daughter, charges Mast has denied. Mast maintains that he and his wife are the child’s legal guardians.
The Taliban Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it “considers this case to be concerning, far from human dignity and an inhumane act, and will seriously pursue this matter with the American authorities so that the said child is returned to his relatives”.
The baby, now 3½, was rescued in 2020 two years ago from the rubble of a US military raid that killed his parents and five siblings.
She had gone to live with her cousin and his wife after spending months in a US military hospital before they were flown to Washington by Mast along with tens of thousands of Afghans during the chaotic withdrawal of foreign troops led by the United States of Afghanistan last year.
Court records indicate that Mast, an active duty naval officer, took the baby from the couple five days after they arrived in the United States. The couple have not seen the child since.
The sailor and his wife had adopted the child in a court in Virginia, according to court documents.
“After they took her away, our tears never stop,” the Afghan woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Associated Press. “Right now we are just corpses. Our hearts are broken. We have no plans for the future without her. Food has no taste and sleep gives us no rest,” a- she added.
The Taliban Foreign Ministry renewed its criticism of the mass evacuation of Afghans, saying they had been “inappropriate” taken out of the country by the United States and its allies. He went on to allege that many evacuees “are now being held in various camps in a state of legal limbo and deprived of basic human rights”.
The statement urges host countries to protect the human and legal rights of Afghan refugees in accordance with international laws and through consular services.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021 when the US-backed government in Kabul collapsed and foreign forces withdrew after nearly 20 years of war with the Islamist insurgency in era.
The Taliban takeover prompted a chaotic evacuation by the United States and other Western allies of the Afghans who feared reprisals for siding with international forces against the insurgency. The United States alone airlifted more than 120,000 people to safety.
Many evacuees have been airlifted to third countries for resettlement in the United States, but they have not yet been resettled and would face housing issues as well as difficulties in returning their children to the United States. school.
No country has yet officially recognized the legitimacy of the Taliban government, citing terrorism and concerns over human rights, especially those of Afghan women and girls.
The radical group imposed restrictions on women, compromising their access to education and work. While public and private universities across Afghanistan are open to women, teenage girls are not allowed to attend secondary schools from grades 7 to 12.
Thomas West, the US special envoy for Afghanistan, told VOA last week that his delegation held a new round of talks with the Taliban earlier this month in Qatar and renewed Washington’s concerns over rights issues. of man.
“I think both sides have brought a constructive attitude to these talks. I think we’re on the right track to restore trust,” West noted.
“I have made it very clear that in my view nothing would better the position of the Taliban nationally in Afghanistan or internationally than to allow the over one million girls who are currently being denied education secondary school, the fundamental right that they have to continue these studies, and also for women to work”, underlined the American envoy.
The Taliban are defending their rules for women, saying they conform to Islamic injunctions and Afghan culture. They say arrangements are being made to allow secondary school girls to return to class, but insist their government will not do so under international pressure.
Certain information in this report was provided by The Associated Press.