FILE: The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (center) launched the alliance for Afghan Women’s Economic Resilience (AWER)

KABUL, Afghanistan – The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched the alliance for Afghan Women’s Economic Resilience (AWER) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, said the US Department of State in a press release Tuesday.

Earlier this week, the UN General Assembly was attended by Afghan women entrepreneurs, business leaders and civil society members, as well as representatives of the US and other foreign governments, including US special envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West and US special envoy for Afghanistan Women and Human Rights Rina Amiri.

The alliance aims to empower Afghan women’s in various areas – including entrepreneurship, employment, and educational opportunities – in Afghanistan and the third countries.

“AWER is a new public-private partnership between the Department of State and Boston University that aims to catalyze business, philanthropic, and civil society commitments to advance Afghan women’s entrepreneurship, employment, and educational opportunities in Afghanistan and third countries,” the press release wrote.

This came at a time thousands of Afghan women are being deprived of their basic rights, including rights to education, employment in government sectors, and freedom of free will since the beginning of the Taliban takeover in August last year.

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“Now I don’t want to sugarcoat it (the alliance),” Blinken said at the event. “This is going to be hard, given the severe restraint imposed by the Taliban. But we are determined to safely deliver this support to women in Afghanistan.”

Secretary Blinken highlighted AWER’s first initiative, the Million Women Mentors Initiative for Afghan Women and Girls (MWMA), which aims to accelerate private sector and civil society commitments to mentor one million women and girls over the next five years.

“He noted Deloitte’s commitment to work with the Alliance’s first member Pod in mentoring 2,000 Afghan women under MWMA as an example of how AWER aims to foster economic opportunity for Afghan women and girls,” according to the release.

This announcement follows $1.5 million in additional Department of State funding for this effort, including funds from the Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund that supports the economic security of women and girls globally, to advance Afghan women’s access to business incubation and partnership with the private sector.

AWER creates a pathway to generate sustainable, market-driven solutions to Afghan women’s economic security and underscores the United States’ deep commitment to Afghan women and girls.

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