Aug 18, 2021

Nancy Pelosi Remarks on Rights of Women in Afghanistan Transcript

Nancy Pelosi Remarks on Rights of Women in Afghanistan Transcript
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan during a press briefing on August 18, 2021. Read the transcript of her remarks here.

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Speaker 1: (00:00)
What do you have to say to the women in Afghanistan right now?

Nancy Pelosi: (00:05)
Yes. Women and girls in Afghanistan have been a very high priority for many of us in Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, House and Senate, White House, President, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, Jill Biden. All of us have had that as a high priority. Quite frankly, I think some of the support for our presence in Afghanistan across the country sprang from the interest of the American people of the fate of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Nancy Pelosi: (00:38)
I’ve been to Afghanistan nine times, many times led by Susan Davis of California for a Mother’s Day visit. But of course, our whole purpose of security to thank our troops, some of them moms, some of them grandmoms fighting the war. And also to remind some of the others to call home for Mother’s Day. But nonetheless, also to visit the women in the hinterlands, not just in Kabul. That’s obvious, doctors, professors, lawyers, judges, women that are highly visible and the need for us to protect them. But also the poorest of the poor women throughout the country.

Nancy Pelosi: (01:20)
And seeing the girls go to school, to see the next generation to have opportunity that they did not have. So we have to make this a subject of the greatest transparency, shining the biggest brightest light on what the Taliban may do. So far they’re painting over beauty salons and things like that, we’ll see where it goes from there. But people ask me do you trust them when they say “We’re not going to hurt women,” and the rest?

Nancy Pelosi: (01:54)
We’ll see, but we can’t take that chance. I’ve just seen that Malala, you know lovely Malala who has been so courageous is speaking out on this. And I have a call into her to say, “Any way we can help you,” but we do want that.

Nancy Pelosi: (02:09)
Now you’ve given me an opportunity to say that, please call our office if you have a concern about Afghanis, about people getting out. What do we say… Let me give the right… Because there are so many… I have so many websites. But this one is… I’m Sorry?

Speaker 3: (02:30)

Nancy Pelosi: (02:32), that’s my San Francisco place for you to call. We have speakers saying this and that, want you to go there. And then, we are in touch with the State Department about specific cases with NGOs there.

Nancy Pelosi: (02:52)
Let me just say that I was very proud and I spoke to my colleague Jason Crow this morning who took the lead on the visas for those who helped us there. And largely, helping in the military aspects of it. But many NGOs were helpful there, Roots for Peace, local to us here. Also, there are other groups that were helpful that were not US NGOs, but NGOs there that need that visa relief coming out.

Nancy Pelosi: (03:26)
My most recent communication from DOD this morning was that they’ve identified a large number of Americans, we’re just talking Americans right now, who have visas and need to get out… Well, they’re Americans, they don’t need a visa. But the question is, how to get them to the airport. And that’s a question of the intentions of the Taliban as well.

Nancy Pelosi: (03:52)
So this is all consuming in every way. San Francisco is a very welcoming place, has always been there. When we had the Muslim ban, remember that over four years ago, but that was a direct hit on the people who helped us. And therefore, the diplomats and military and all came forward and said, “We have to get rid of the Muslim ban because that hits the people who helped us so much in Iraq and Afghanistan.” And at that time, I just always like to say this because I think it’s important, at that hearing that we had… Of course, it was a [inaudible 00:04:29] hearing because we didn’t have the majority, but we had it anyway.

Nancy Pelosi: (04:33)
At that hearing, the leader of the American Evangelicals and the evangelical community came to oppose that Muslim ban. And he said, “The US refugee resettlement program is the crown jewel of American humanitarianism.” We just have to remember that and be more welcoming, especially to those who helped us. But nonetheless, for those who have a well founded fear of persecution, wherever it may be.

Nancy Pelosi: (05:07)
So again, it’s about values. It’s about values of our responsibility to other people as other countries, other people affected by all of this. That’s what I was asking about HIV/AIDS, could be used that mechanism to be able to get more drugs to more people to fight the pandemic in the southern hemisphere specifically.

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