President Ashraf Ghani, who met a group of women in Faryab province on Thursday, said that women’s rights remain the Afghan government’s red line in the peace process – which has seen some developments in recent months following efforts by the Afghan government and its international allies.
The inclusion of women in the peace process and defending from their rights in future talks with the Taliban has been a much-debated topic in recent days.
The Afghan government will send a delegation to Qatar meeting scheduled for April 19 where Afghan politicians will exchange views with the Taliban about the peace process.
Critics say major issues in the peace talks is how to preserve the achievements of the past 18 years, including women’s rights.
“It is a moment of pride that Faryab women raising their thoughtful demands. Women’s rights are our red line in the peace process and we will never go back,” Ghani reiterated.
Ghani said women’s role in Afghan society is not symbolic and that he is committed to improving their role in different sectors.
He called on women to raise their demands and share their thoughts “independently”.
“The participation of women at the national level is great and it is increasing at the local level. Presence of women in leadership posts is a need,” he added.
This comes as government has been under criticism by rights activists for not giving the required role for women in the peace process. The proposed lists of the Reconciliation Leadership Council and the negotiating team show that each of the two bodies has two women members.
A US Senator Jeanne Shaheen has said in a tweet that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s refusal to commit to including Afghan women in US-led negotiations with the Taliban “is a moral and foreign policy failure for this administration”.
She says that “Afghan women should be able to shape their country and the laws they live under”.
“The Secretary’s assertion that it is somehow up to Afghan women to let themselves into a negotiation controlled by the US and the Taliban is nonsensical and ignorant of the extreme abuses that Afghan women once suffered under Taliban rule,” she said in a tweet on April 11.