A number of officials from women’s organizations say that the government must stand up for women’s rights in peace talks; because peace in which women’s rights are ignored is not acceptable.

In an interview with the CSHRN, Ms. Rahimi said that the government’s position should be based on defending women’s rights. She added that achieving peace should not be at the expense of neglecting women’s rights and gains. They do not want to be confined to their houses, like twenty years ago.

CSHRN: What is your assessment of the negotiations so far?

Rahimi: In my opinion, the negotiation is not acceptable to women because women are concerned about their rights and their achievements. They are concerned that women might be deprived of their rights and relapse to the past. Although we are not satisfied with the negotiation’s slow progress, in a conversation we had with one of the female members of the negotiating team, she assured us of progress and commitment to defending women’s rights.

CSHRN: Given the Taliban’s background, especially with regards to women, do you think that the negotiations will entail a positive outcome?

Rahimi: In my opinion, the government’s peace agreement with the Taliban may be a covert deal between the Taliban and the United States in which women’s rights may be ignored. On the other hand, the Taliban’s view of women has not changed and there is no hope of changing it.

CSHRN: In your opinion, given the Taliban’s view of women, what will be the situation of women after the agreement if the negotiations lead to an agreement?

Rahimi: If the Taliban assure commitment to women’s rights and the international community guarantees it, perhaps the situation will be such that women’s rights and achievements will be preserved and women will be able to work in different sectors as they do today.

CSHRN: What are your concerns about the outcome of the talks?

Rahimi: The main concern for women is ignoring their achievements. Afghan women have been active in various sectors for the past two decades. Today, we have female doctors, teachers, police, and nurses who will never accept the negligence of their rights to work or any of their achievements. Members of the government negotiating team, especially women representatives, should pay close attention to this issue. Sustainable peace will not be achieved by imposing restrictions on women’s rights. Additionally, Afghan women are now aware of their rights and are not willing to retreat.

According to Ms. Rahimi so far there is no promising news about the negotiations but we hope that with the intervention of the international community on peace in Afghanistan, the women’s rights and achievements will be protected, and the cost of peace would not be women’s rights.

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