Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Women’s Inclusion Important in Peace Talks

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Women’s Inclusion Important in Peace Talks

The issue of women’s rights and freedoms has been one of the main concerns in the peace talks. Afghan nation, notably women, urges the participation of women in the peace talks so that their rights and freedoms, achieved under the post-Taliban nascent democracy, do not be compromised at the table.
Following the downfall of the Taliban’s regime, Afghan women have participated in social, political, and cultural activities and played a highly significant role. They proved that their abilities and capabilities in social and political arenas were as high as their male counterparts. Holding high political positions, Afghan women broke cultural stereotypes regarding themselves and changed public perspective to a great extent. They played pivotal role in collective life and campaigned against deep-seated cultural taboos through joining military forces, concerts and musical performances, athletic centers and bike riding competitions, film making industries, etc.
Afghan women enjoyed the relative freedoms after the collapse of the Taliban’s regime. The post-Taliban Constitutions entitled Afghan men and women equally in rights, freedoms, and dignity and a number of NGOs tried to empower women perhaps to undo the restrictions imposed on them during the Taliban’s regime.
Afghan women are making steady progress on day-to-day basis and try to increase their constructive role in the community. They, along with Afghan men, have been paying sacrifices for democracy and their human rights and freedoms. Female MPs, police officers, journalists, and politicians are also being threatened and targeted by the militants. Women also lose their lives while registering for elections, casting their votes, or simply walking on the streets. A woman’s vote is as important as that of her male counterpart. During presidential and parliamentary elections, Afghan women use their suffrage through flocking to ballot boxes. 
A study by Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission showed that Afghan women were worried about their rights in the peace talks with the Taliban.
Since the US is seeking to step up its struggle for including women in the talks, Afghan women are likely to be hopeful for the end of their marginalization. The Taliban are unlikely to refuse women’s representatives in the talks to show the world that their mindset has been changed towards women and to court their trust. Facing women in informal talks, the Taliban show very positive attitude towards them.
However, the Taliban yet to practically prove their genuine intention for not violating the rights and freedoms of women. Since the Taliban are still exercising their radical mindset in areas under their control, Afghan women still view the Taliban with doubt.
The Taliban have to change their mindset towards women in true way. Restricting women’s social and political activities is against Islamic tenets. Women are widely involved in social, political, economic, and cultural activities in many Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Iran, Pakistan, Arab Emirate, etc. Thus, the Taliban have to stop their radical interpretation of Islamic tenets and respect the rights, freedoms, and dignity of women.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan and freelance writer based in Kabul. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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