Afghan women must be included at the negotiating table

Afghan women should have been at the table for the U.S.-Taliban talks, but they were not. History has shown that women stand to lose the most from deals made behind closed doors with rooms full of men.

Add your name as a supporter of the following call from Afghan women to be included in the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Afghan women are desperate for an end to the violence and a durable peace, but we fear that negotiators will trade away our rights for a deal.

We know from previous experience that without a seated, elected, inclusive government based on the results of the elections, this peace deal will be little more than a division of power and resources among the Taliban, the warlords and the political strongmen.

The new U.S.- Taliban agreement and the ensuing intra-Afghan negotiations must address our rights in specific terms, not broad generalizations. Preserving the constitutional rights of women and all Afghan citizens must be a non-negotiable demand on the agenda of every political party and group.

Any peace deal, if it is to succeed, will have to include the protection of our human and civil rights, including freedom of speech and religion, the right to assembly, protection for our human rights defenders, and a mechanism of restorative justice for the hundreds of thousands of victims of this long war.

Afghan women are not asking anyone to grant us our rights. Our rights are clearly enshrined in our country’s constitution, our national laws, international law and sharia law. Our message to Mr. Haqqani and other Taliban negotiators is simple: Our rights are guaranteed, and we have a right to sit at any table you do.


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