David J. Kramer provides remarks at the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council annual meeting

Learn more about Natalie Gonnella-Platts.
Natalie Gonnella-Platts
Director, Global Policy
George W. Bush Institute

For over two decades the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council has endured as a testament to the vital importance of collaboration in support of women and children in Afghanistan and beyond.

Amid the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, the Council’s work as a public-private partnership has become more important than ever as Afghans within the country face a daily assault on their human rights and well-being and those forced to flee contend with significant barriers in their pursuit of safety and resettlement.

Though the situation often feels hopeless, Afghan women continue to stand as beacons of light in the face of the Taliban’s darkness, often at great personal risk.

In recognition of the tremendous work and commitment of Council members, Bush Institute Executive Director David J. Kramer shared the following remarks during the USAWC’s annual meeting this June.

In November 2001, Mrs. Bush delivered the Presidential Radio Address to shine a spotlight on the treatment of women and children in Afghanistan.  She spoke about the Taliban’s “degradation” of women and children and the “human cruelty carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control.” Mrs. Bush asked American women to join her in support of our Afghan sisters.

From investments in education and healthcare, to the creation of economic opportunity and leadership development programs, Afghans and Americans mobilized to advance the rights and well-being of women and children in Afghanistan. More than two decades later, we remain proud of the solidarity that continues to this day. And we are especially grateful for the leadership and loyalty of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council members. Though many of your programs are once again under attack amid unparalleled adversity, they remain essential. Today, your work is more important than ever.

Through their suffocation of human dignity, the Taliban have demonstrated they have not changed. Their desire for power aims to crush Afghanistan’s desire for peace. But despite grave risk and unimaginable cruelty, Afghan women remain on the frontlines in the fight for freedom in their country. They refuse to succumb to evil. And like all people around the world, Afghan women deserve to live in peace so they can provide a brighter and more hopeful future for their children.

President and Mrs. Bush and all our colleagues at the Bush Institute thank the Council for your collaboration, innovation, and unwavering support for the Afghan people.  We stand with you, with Afghanistan, and with those fighting for freedom everywhere.