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Fouzia Kofi, a former Afghan legislator, told Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Ashton that she understood it was difficult to persuade Westerners of the importance of the issue, given deepening fears of a “never-ending war.”

“They need to realize that peace here with the Taliban, and bringing Taliban on board with a compromise of basic human rights and women’s rights, means taking this country back hundreds of years,” Ms. Kofi said.