We do not Trust the Taliban

Disbelief in the peace process and a change in the perspectives of the Taliban towards women increases among Afghan citizens. As the Taliban’s attacks continue after they signed a peace agreement with the United States, many  Afghans stress the need for an assurance that the Taliban will not violate the terms of the agreement after peace talks with the government. “Experience from the Taliban-US peace agreement shows that Taliban are not trustworthy. They think only of their own benefits and the fact that they have made the release of prisoners a pre-condition for the negotiations shows that their aim is to return to war.” Ms. Bashiri added that the Taliban would continue to violate their commitments until they are pressured by the international community. Network: Do you think there is the possibility of getting a commitment from the Taliban? Bashiri: The international community and countries involved in the peace negotiations must assure the people of Afghanistan that the deal will be respected. Network: Do you think there has been a change in the Taliban's perspective with regards to women? Bashiri: According to the women who participated in the previous talks, the Taliban have positive view of women's right to work and education, but in practice we have not seen any significant changes. According to Ms. Bashiri, issues such as women's rights and their political participation.should be discussed in the peace negotiations. In general, women should not experience the dark days of Taliban era once again. Network: What is the biggest problem that the Taliban’s presence in Ghor has caused for women? Bashiri: The Taliban’s summary trials are a great terror that we have been witnessing in this province for years. Rakhshaneh's brutal stoning and shooting of Aziza is an example of dozens of cases that have unfortunately taken…

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Taliban Offering Local Guarantees to Fulfill Commitments is not Enough

The Taliban’s continued killings and bloodshed following a peace deal with the United States of America, has turned the group to an unreliable partner. Experts believe that guarantees offered by the group to fulfill its commitments under a peace agreement in particular with regard to women’s rights is not sufficient. Farid Ahmad Amiri, a socio-political activist, told the Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN) that the only way to ensure Taliban do not violate their post-negotiation commitments, especially on women's rights, international community must offer guarantee. "The agreement that will be signed between the government and the Taliban must also entail signature of international community, international human rights institutions and countries that support democracy and freedoms." Network: Experts believe that there is a difference of opinion between the political leaders of the Taliban and the Taliban on the battlefield, will the negotiations reach a favorable outcome? Amiri: I think it is naive to expect a lasting peace after the peace deal. A fragile peace may be established, but the conflict may still continue as some members of the Taliban may either form new fronts or join other terrorist groups due to the differences of opinion among them. Network: What do you mean by the differences of opinion among Taliban members? Amiri: Some numbers of the Taliban are extreme and view conflict as the only viable option, while others are committed to peace. Some of the Taliban fighters are foreign nationals who fight the government of Afghanistan, will continue to fight by joining the ISIS or other terrorist groups. However, a large number of Taliban members who are under the influence of their political leaders, if properly managed, could join the peace settlement. Women's rights and freedom of expression are among the values ​​that Mr. Amiri believes are…

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Businesswomen Need More Security to Run Their Business

Security has been long recognized as a threat to the working lives of different segments of the Afghan society. It has been the main obstacle to the development of many citizens, and businesswomen in Herat are no exception. In an interview with the CSHRN, Nafasgol Jami, a businesswoman from Herat, said that security concerns often discourages women to work. “Women working in the food or carpet weaving sector cannot travel to the villages, neither can rural women relocate their businesses to the city” Ms. Jami adds that businesswomen do not enjoy the same opportunity as businessmen do. And, they cannot move from one province to another to carry out their economic activities.   Network: Aside from business, what other activities do you do? Jami: I have been involved in various women-related fields for the past fifteen years. Currently, I have twenty-five employees in my company, and around one hundred people are benefited from its activities. Previously, I was in charge of eighty women working in the food processing, carpet waving, handicrafts and embroidery sectors. Network: Apart from security problems, what are other problems businesswomen face in Herat? Jami: The traditional structure of society and the negative attitude of men towards women's employment are major obstacles to the development of businesswomen in Herat. Men do not treat women as equal to realize the fact that women have the ability and talent to manage businesses and work for the improvement of the economy of their family and country. According to Ms. Jami, the government has not kept its promises to provide suitable working conditions and assist women in improving their businesses. She adds that women businessmen are not in a good position in terms of lack of facilities and meeting their economic needs; and there is no suitable market for…

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Women with Disabilities Should Participate in Peace Talks

Women with disabilities have always sought government attention on a number of issues, including the provision of educational facilities. As the peace talks heats up, women with disabilities in Balkh are calling on the government to involve them in the process.In an interview with the CSHRN, Parvaneh Sama Samadi, head of the Social Association of Women with Disabilities in Balkh, said that women with disabilities are the main victims of war, because it has maimed them. They now call on the government to include their representatives in the negotiating team.CSHRN: How optimistic are you about the outcome of the peace talks?If the talks are not behind closed doors, and the voices of women—especially women with disabilities—are heard, we can hold out hope for positive results.This organization is concerned that women’s effort might go in vain. According to Ms. Samadi, women with disabilities are more worried than anyone else about their achievements to be compromised.CSHRN: What is the main reason for women's disability in Balkh?Although the government has divided them into war and non-war inflected disabilities having different privileges, war is considered as one main cause. While disavowing this dichotomy, Ms. Samadi believes that non-war driven factor can also be the main driver for women’s disabilities in one way or another. If a pregnant woman, for example, does not have access to required facilities such as health care, clinic and hospitals in a conflict situation, child’s disability with psychiatric condition will be the dire consequence. CSHRN: What privileges do disabled people have?Samadi: People with war disabilities receive a salary of sixty thousand Afghanis a year from the government, but people with non-war disabilities receive no benefits. She added that besides facing many other challenges, women with disabilities are always ignored and isolated and by their families and society as a…

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Under the Agreement with the Taliban on the Issue of the Republic System and the Constitution, Women will Also Achieve Their Rights

Experts believe that, in peace negotiations with the Taliban, more general concerns should be agreed upon first. They maintain that democratic and human rights values are among the elements that if Taliban respect, women’s right will be available as a sub-element. "It is not yet evident whether or not the Taliban will agree with us on respecting values such as democracy, human rights, equality, cultural diversity and religion. If so, women's rights including their political participation in power will be attainable as a subset of these values." says Mohammad Yasin Negah. CSHRN: Do you think the Taliban's view has changed about women? Negah: From my perspective, Taliban views have not changed on many issues including women rights, democracy, election, republic system and equality. This group is still radical, extreme and violent. It would be naive to believe that Taliban’s views of women rights and democratic values have changed. CSHRN: It is probable that in order to reach a peace deal with the Taliban, the government may accept some restrictions with regard to women’s rights. What restrictions do you think they would be? Negah: As supporters of the government of Afghanistan, we must defend democracy, election and women’s rights as our red lines. We are in a rightful position and we must not retreat in any way. If the ransom process begins, the restrictions will increase. The Taliban may long for hoisting the flag of their Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan and wish to re-establish a violent and lawless government. Therefore, we have to fight such a mindset and reject any restriction. CSHRN: Do you think the government team has the necessary ability to negotiate? Negah: The negotiation process requires negotiation knowledge and skills including the art of Challenges the opposite side and maneuvering delicate margins. However, I believe that…

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