Senior Afghan officials and foreign diplomats at a ceremony in Kabul on Monday exchanged views on women’s role in the peace process as well as women’s condition in Afghanistan’s rural areas.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said at the event that women in Afghanistan should be given a role in the peace process – which has gained new momentum in recent months.
“Millions or maybe hundreds of thousands of children and girls in this country are deprived of education because they live in areas where they are not allowed to get an education,” said Abdullah.
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahuddin Rabbani, said protection of human rights, particularly women’s rights, is the main demand of Afghans in any peace process.
“In any peace process, protecting the citizens’ rights is our collective obligation and any ignorance in this regard, if committed, will have bitter implications,” Mr. Rabbani said.
“It is probably unrealistic to expect that every person in this country would agree. But if most Afghans agree, that gives us I think good prospects for seeing an agreement in principle become reality,” the US Ambassador in Kabul, John Bass, said at the event.
Officials from the High Peace Council said women’s rights and freedom of speech should be part of the national action plan after peace with the Taliban.
“The issues which are related to women and when it comes to the merging members of the Taliban in society when it is related to localization, there would be some challenges when we deal with this society and the Taliban’s society,” said Habiba Sarabi, member of the High Peace Council.
“Women will not allow any force to make a decision on their behalf on issues of national importance and women,” the Women’s Affairs Minister Dilbar Nazari said.
Head of UN mission in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, expressed his concerns over the plight of Afghan women in rural areas, saying both the Afghan government and the international community are being challenged in the areas of post-elections and the peace process.
“In the provinces, in rural areas, it is a very important question. We are now being challenged in the areas of post-elections and in the peace process,” Mr. Yamamoto said at an event organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs titled “Women Peace and Security”.