A report titled "A place at the table" is the latest study on women's' rights in Afghanistan released Monday by Oxfam Charity Organization. The document highlights this: "Women in Afghanistan have achieved real progress in areas such as political participation, the rule of law, and education since 2001, but these hard-won gains remain fragile. With the imminent withdrawal of international forces, there is a risk that the government may sacrifice women's rights in order to secure a political deal with the Taliban and other armed opposition groups".
Likewise, "Actionaid", also a charity organization, has gravely warned on obliteration of women's achievements through ongoing pacifying peace talks with Taliban and the premature withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.
There have been several researches and analyses on possible detrimental outcomes originating from notorious reconciliation process. Human rights organizations and women activists have constantly alarmed on side effects caused by indiscriminate negotiations with Taliban. However, government has assured Afghans of sticking to democracy and human rights in reconciliation process.
During their rule on Afghanistan in the 1990's, Taliban radical regime banned women from education and any social-economic and political functions. In their dogmatic interpretation of Islamic teachings, religion did not let women to study or work outside. Soon after their collapse, millions of girls rushed to schools and universities.
Afghanistan under president Karzai boasted of providing them with opportunities to revive their human rights, improve their living conditions and play dynamic roles in social, political and economic processes.
Since then, women have enjoyed exercising their rights in all sectors: economy, politics, military, culture, education and social affairs. However, as Oxfam and Actionaid reports suggest, some women are afraid the status may not last long.
The just-defeated opaque moves to make deals with militants have led to estimations on how it will impact the women's life, their rights and social status. Despite the recent halt in peace talks with Taliban following assassination of Chief of Afghan High Peace Council, peace offers will not end anyway.
Awakened by local and international calls for respecting women's rights in peace process, Afghan government had promised that negotiations will not compromise on national constitution, in which women civil rights are stipulated. However, there is severe trepidation on any disadvantageous move against women.
Reports say the U.S.-backed efforts by President Hamid Karzai to reconcile with the Taliban and other Islamic militants threaten to reverse improvements in the lives and rights of Afghanistan's women. In spite of great improvements in women's life and endeavors for promoting gender equality in Afghanistan, there are certain security and social barriers challenging women on the way to strongly participate in social activities and meet gender objectives.
As common, security remains a big challenge for women to build capacity further and demonstrate in public their abilities. Human rights activists have often criticized government's failure to protect women activists in the southern and southeastern Afghanistan.
Afghan Constitution stipulates women rights and draws a promising perspective for them in future but little has been achieved so far. More despondently, current achievements are now threatened to invalidation.
To protect constitutional rights of citizens, particularly the women's, President Karzai government needs to deal with it more responsibly. An adequate number of mechanisms are set up to protect democratic values, including human rights, but less strategic planning has helped translate promises into reality.