Jamila Afghani, an Afghan women’s rights activist, states that women in her country must have a voice in decisions that have an effect on them and that their worries should be addressed in any peace deal with the Taliban.
“Afghan women should be capable to meaningfully take part in decisions that affect them,” she told a meeting of the UN Security Council on July 26, speaking from Kabul through a video link.
Afghani urged the council to make sure that there are actually very clear rules for engaging Afghan women from diverse backgrounds in peace discussions, including allowing them roles as negotiators and religious leaders in any discussions.
The United States is the main efforts to bring the Taliban militant group into talks with the Afghan government in Kabul.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, has held a series of discussions with the Taliban in Qatar, however, the extremist group has until now denied meeting directly with leaders in Kabul, calling them puppets of the West.
Before the Taliban militants were driven from power in a U.S.-led invasion in 2001, the group seriously restricted women’s rights and banned the education of girls in the country.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet, speaking at the meeting at the UN, told the council that Washington wants all Afghans, including women, to take part in discussions to decide the war-ravaged country’s coming future.
Amina Mohammed, a UN deputy secretary-general, told the Security Council session that, under the Taliban, “women and girls were refused to have access to education, health services, and protection from extreme violence, and was unable to take part in political or public life.”
Mohammed in the recent times traveled to Afghanistan to meet with President Ashraf Ghani along with other senior leaders and religious scholars. She also met with women’s rights leaders, decision-makers, and health-care workers.
“In the past 18 years, there has been important progress,” claimed Mohammed, who mentioned that women currently hold senior roles in the defense, foreign affairs, and interior ministries and make up some 27 % of the country’s civil service.
Afghanistan has “done more to invest in women’s leadership” than several countries with better means and women are “rising to reclaim their rightful place in all areas of society,” she said.