Speaking at the 143rd IPU General Assembly in Madrid, Spain

I had the honor of participating in the 143rd Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU), hosted by Spain and attended by our fellow delegations of Parliaments from 179 countries. In my prepared remarks to the General Assembly, I highlighted the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Afghanistan; the closure of girls' schools and restrictions on young women in universities; unemployment, poverty, and hunger; the dramatic reversal of Afghanistan's achievements over the past 20 years; and the closure of the Afghan Parliament.

The 143rd General Assembly was the first public IPU event that the Afghan Parliament has attended since the Taliban takeover by force in mid-August. 3 months into Taliban rule, I needed to tell the Parliaments of the world the ground truth in Afghanistan. I needed to warn them that the Taliban, despite their promises of reform and change, never broke with their totalitarian and extremist roots.

I called on the IPU and international community to apply diplomatic pressure to the Taliban and deny them recognition unless and until “they form a pluralistic democratic government, respect human rights, women's rights, the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, freedom of expression, comply with Afghanistan's international obligations, and recognize that free and fair elections are the only way to legitimate national power.”

On the sidelines of the conference, I had the opportunity to meet with several my colleagues from Parliamentary delegations representing Afghanistan’s neighbors and its allies. I was heart warmed by the strong support of the IPU member states for the people of Afghanistan and the concerns they had about the ongoing situation.