Many women activists believe that women’s rights achieved with great difficulty should not be restricted if the Taliban share power with the government after a peace agreement.
In an interview with the CSHRN, Ms. Fariha Nasiri (pseudonym) said that women have gained their rights through many sacrifices and these rights should not be ignored.
CSHRN: What is your assessment of what has happened so far in the peace talks? How much can we hope for a positive result?
Naseri: It has been almost two months since the beginning of the peace talks, but according to the media, the negotiating teams have not yet finalized the agenda. Therefore, it is too early to talk about the outcome.
CSHRN: Given the Taliban’s background, especially with regards to women, what will be the social and political presence of women after the peace talks?
Naseri: Since the formation of the Taliban group, the members of this group have never believed in or respected the rights women. The fact that no woman is included in their group shows that they do not care about women’s rights. With their participation in the government, women will be deprived of their rights. Women will not be able to continue their activities freely. The first impact of these restrictions will be to make women depended on men, they will impose this by creating rules to not let any women travel without men. But, since women in the years following the fall of the Taliban have achieved great success, I hope they do not remain silent in the face of the restrictions imposed by the Taliban and fight this situation by creating effective movements.
CSHRN: Can the presence of women in peace talks affect the Taliban’s anti-women approach? Do you think the Taliban will change their position for any reason?
Naseri: The presence of women in peace talks indicates that the international community supports the presence of women in these talks. In my opinion, the Taliban have inevitably accepted negotiations with women. If the international community puts more pressure on the Taliban to recognize women’s rights, the situation of women will improve otherwise there is no hope for the future.
CSHRN: Do you think the government’s negotiating team, especially the female members can properly represent women and defend their rights?
Naseri: The female members of the negotiating team can communicate with women of provinces, districts, and villages and share their demands in the negotiating team. Additionally, they can gather information by talking to bright and intellectual women so that they can better defend women’s rights. As a women’s rights activist, I urge female representatives in peace talks to defend our rights under all circumstances and not allow them to be traded.
CSHRN: Considering the peace talks as an opportunity, how can it be used to benefit women?
Naseri: This is a good opportunity to force the Taliban to end the violence and recognize women’s rights.
CSHRN: Apart from security issues and the opposition of the Taliban, which hinders the advancement of women, what other challenges ahead of women?
Naseri: Gender discrimination, bad customs, patriarchy, and low literacy are some of the problems that keep women from progressing, and if left unaddressed, will create more problems for women in the future.
Ms Naseri said civil society plays an important role in advocating for the citizens’ rights, and because the Taliban are pessimistic about civil society activities, they may stop many of them.