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Taliban talks terrify Afghan women
New rights in fragile state
“The nine women on the peace council are not part of any negotiations with the Taliban,” said Asila Wardak Jamal, director of Human Rights and Women’s International Affairs in the Afghan Foreign Ministry.
The international community can safeguard hard-won rights and freedoms by supporting the women on the council, she added.
The challenge will be to ensure that the international community protects women’s rights in Afghanistan in any peace process.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton assured a meeting of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council in Washington last month of the U.S. commitment.
“Any peace that is attempted to be made by excluding more than half the population is no peace at all,” she said. “It is a figment that will not last.”
Two top reasons Afghan women are apprehensive about reconciliation with the Taliban are a lack of transparency and inclusivity in the process.
“We have to push for a more meaningful role for women,” Ms. Sakhi said.
While some women, like Ms. Naderi, say peace cannot be achieved through negotiations with terrorists, others, like Ms. Sakhi, say women’s groups need to be less rigid in their stances on reconciliation.
What all women can agree on is that peace in Afghanistan must not come at the cost of their newfound freedoms.
“Women would like to bring peace to this country and put an end to this war, but will not agree to pay any price,” Ms. Jamal said.
“Nobody would like to go back to the period of the Taliban.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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