Some of the citizens with concern to the result of peace talks say that, if a proper and credible commitment is not going to be made with Taliban, the citizens specially women in Afghanistan may experience the Taliban regime once again.
In an interview with the CSHRN, Khodadad Watankhah said that their main concern is that, Taliban as power partner in Afghanistan, use their ideologies of their regime while dealing with women. Yahia Erfan added, “We are seriously concerned that after peace talks, the Taliban use the same misogynous looks as they used to do during their regime towards women. If Afghan government and world community do not emphasize rigidly on protecting women’s rights, they might be more restricted even like thirty years back and that is a disaster.”
CSHRN: According to what Taliban’s leaders have said in inaugural of peace talks, they still persist in establishment of an Islamic government in Afghanistan, do you think making peace with such group will lead to desired result?
Erfan: According to my opinion, controversy over Islamic government is something far from the fact. Because if there is an argument about Islam, the constitution of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the system that Laws and provisions, procedures and doctrines are implemented based on that, are all Islamic. No law is enforced if it is against Islamic norms. Therefore, I believe talking about Islamic government is a kind of blackmail. In another words, Taliban want to have the control of the process in order to convince the government of Afghanistan of some other terms and desires of themselves.
CSHRN: How should the government use the peace talks as an opportunity?
Erfan: Since the government of Afghanistan has entered into the dialogues with a comprehensive and proper position, this is a good opportunity to create a new national debate related to major issues in Afghanistan, such as peace and war. Fortunately, many countries are now supporting the Afghan government’s pretension in peace talks, which is the republic system and preservation of the achievements of the last two decades. It means that the government has once again come to attention and support of the international community.
According to Mr. Erfan, the government of Afghanistan should use this opportunity to spread its narrative of being Islamic and republic among different stratums, or in other words, to attract the attention of plebs mind and collective thinking to support this narrative more than before.
CSHRN: What is the effect of women’s participation in peace talks on Taliban?
Erfan: Although there is less number of women in negotiation team, but qualitatively, there are good members in the team and I am confident that they can defend the claim of women’s participation and rights reasonably and logically. Yet the main issue is that we are facing a group whose logic about women is the logic of exclusion; for this reason, not only women, but all the members of negotiation team should discuss the protection of women’s rights and their civil freedoms seriously and as a priority and emphasize its importance.
Mr. Erfan adds, in order to force government and the international community to insist on protecting women’s right and achievements, there is a need for an outstretched national lawsuit.
CSHRN: Some women activists believe that if Taliban impose some restrictions on women in order to reach an agreement, the government should accept them. What do you think about this?
Erfan: Such a circumstance is not acceptable, because the only hope that we have achieved in the last two decades, is the civil liberties of citizens. If women are to be deprived of these freedoms, we will downfall again and the Taliban era will be repeated. I am sure that it is not acceptable for any of the citizens specially women, who have entered to the society and have studied and worked over these years.
CSHRN: How long do you think the peace process will take if peace is to be achieved?
Erfan: In my point of view, peace negotiation is a time-consuming process; that means we should not expect peace in two, three or six months. As some of the participants of peace talks mentioned in its inaugural, we may face so many challenges during this process or there might be some pauses or even lead to intervention of neighboring countries. In other words, after the end of peace talks, we will experience a transitional phase and at this point, some convulsions may occur.
According to Mr. Erfan, the most important issue regarding the peace process is the endurance of its agreements. He says, this issue is needed to be considered and debated as an important national strategy, so that the reduction or elimination of war and violence and shutting down the war machine become a permanent issue not a temporary one.