3:03 PM EDT

Alan M. Grayson, D-FL 8th

Mr. GRAYSON. Mr. Chairman, I had the experience of going to Afghanistan a couple of years ago.

This bill has to do with whether we should try to keep track of our policies in Afghanistan on Afghan women. And when I went to Afghanistan 2 years ago before I was elected here to Congress, I saw some interesting things.

One thing is if you're on the street of Afghanistan, everywhere you look there are children--because hardly any of them are in school any time of the year--and as a result of that, you see more children on the streets of an Afghan city or town than you would almost anywhere else in the world. And I noticed something interesting about the girls. If you see an 8-year-old Afghan girl, she looks just like an 8-year-old boy dressed the same way, playing the same way with the same friends. If you see

a 9-year-old Afghan girl, her arms are covered. If you see a 10-year-old Afghan girl, her arms and her head are covered. And you don't see 12-year-old Afghan girls or 13- or 14- or 15- or 16- or 17-year-old Afghan girls. They're just not there.

And if you look around the streets at the adults, you'll see maybe 10 men for every woman that you will see on the streets. And the reason for that is that in Afghanistan, women are forbidden to leave their homes unless they're accompanied by a husband, a brother, a father, or a son. And the women who do leave their homes in Afghanistan are covered head to toe. They can barely see you because their faces are covered and eyes covered with a grill like this so they can just barely see out. They're

covered from head to toe, and all you can see of their bodies are their shoes, nothing else.

That is the life of women in Afghanistan. It is a living hell. And I think it's fitting and appropriate that we who have occupied the country militarily for years now should take a look at the effect of our policies on Afghan women. I'm very much in favor of this amendment because it's a matter of human rights.

3:05 PM EDT

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL 18th

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment offered by the gentlelady from California and the gentleman from Florida.

With the fall of the Taliban, Afghan women came back from the brink. But the gains made since 2001 have been fragile. We recognize that any prospect of better lives for the women of Afghanistan and girls are inherently linked to the success of the development and reconstruction of their country.

Furthermore, we all desire greater levels of accountability, quality, and impact from foreign development assistance to Afghanistan, all aimed at creating the enabling environment necessary to sustain women's development successes, their security, and their basic rights.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment has that noble purpose. It would require the Inspectors General of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to include the impact that U.S. development assistance has on the social, economic, and political empowerment of Afghan women as part of their auditing and reporting requirements.

I support this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.