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.
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 in danger of being ignored and neglected due to the Taliban’s views.
Network: Do you think the Taliban’s view of women rights will change?
Amiri: It depends on the ability of the negotiating team to effectively negotiate in order to change the Taliban’s view of women rights. The Taliban’s view of women rights has not changed since 200.
Mr. Amiri adds: “The role of the United States as the main mediator should be supportive of women rights, and a red line. Else, women as an important component of a society, will be excluded.”
Network: Are women, in the negotiating team, prepared to defend their rights?
Most members of the government’s negotiating team are inexperienced and have limited knowledge about conflict resolution. Some may even be impressed by their counterparts due to their weak negotiation skills or the Taliban may not take them seriously. However, it is a matter of time to see whether or not the government succeeds in defending human rights and democratic values.
Network: Why is there an emphasis on the direct participation of women in peace negotiations?
Amiri: The presence of women in peace negotiations is an opportunity for them to be directly involved in peace issues and to defend their rights. As active members of society, women should be in charge of their rights, participate in major decision processes such as peace deal making sure no decisions made jeopardizes their rights.
Network: What are the most important issues with regard to women rights to be protected?
Amiri: Women’s right to participate in political decision-making processes, their right to work and study, and their participation in modern art are some of the issues that need to be secured.
The negotiating team must be fully prepared to participate in the negotiations, including having a convincing reason for the Taliban on women’s rights. Amiri added that the people of Afghanistan have accepted the members of the negotiation team as their representatives and they should be fully prepared to use this opportunity and never forget their responsibility under the influence of the demands of the Taliban’s negotiators.