A number of civil society activists believe that peace negotiation is the right decision and a dire need for the people despite its unclear outcome.

In an interview with the CSHRN, Mr. Stanekzai said that people are tired of war, and the start of peace talks is an opportunity to get out of this situation. He believes that Afghanistan as a country with a weak economy needs peace, and he hopes for the outcome of the negotiations to ensure peace in the country.

CSHRN: What opportunities and hopes have peace talks created for women?

Stanekzai: I think one of the most important opportunities in these conversations is that women in the negotiating team can discuss issues about themselves directly with the opposing team.

CSHRN: What issues do you think the women on the negotiating team should discuss with the opposing team?

Stanekzai: I think they should emphasize the preservation of the achievements of the last two decades and their rights. All team members should also discuss access to justice, minority rights, victims of war, and freedom of expression and defend them as their red lines.

CSHRN: If the Taliban were in power, will women still have the current civil liberties?

Stanekzai: This is unpredictable, but I hope the Taliban change their views about it; so that all citizens, including women and youth, have the opportunity to achieve their rights.

CSHRN: If restrictions on women’s rights were to be imposed in the peace talks, do you think that it would be acceptable?

Stanekzai: In recent years, we have made significant achievements, including the adoption and implementation of national and international laws. I do not think that they should be ignored.

CSHRN: What are your concerns about the peace talks?

My first concern is that peace negotiation’s failure will harm both sides, and it is not clear how many of their demands will both sides ignore for a successful outcome of the peace talks.  My second concern is the continued support of the international community after the peace negotiation. He added that Afghanistan needs the international community’s support regardless of the negotiations’ success or failure.

Mr. Stanekzai says civil society activists have been cohesive since the beginning of peace talks between the Taliban and the United States with respect to conveying the demands and concerns of the Afghan people to the negotiating team. He added that members of civil society have established mechanisms to ensure that all citizens are included in the peace process.

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