Afghan women have taken great strides despite many challenges since the fall of the Taliban regime, women’s rights activists believe. And now, they look for their meaningful presence in the peace talks with the Taliban.

Talking to CSHRN, Nafisah Danesh stressed on women’s achievements to be further strengthened with a conducive environment for more women’s rights and freedoms after the peace talks.

CSHRN: Along with the women’s core achievements, what would be other important points to be brought in during the negotiations?

Nafisah: As the main victims of armed conflict, violence must immediately end for women. In addition, their rights to education under a peaceful environment must be protected.

CSHRN: Are women, living at the provinces, well-informed of their basic rights?

Nafisah: There is a misunderstanding about women’s rights in rural areas. When one talks of basic rights, many rural women become defensive and they threaten us, simply because they are not well-informed of their basic rights. Some women have fallen victims of old-fashioned customs such as forced marriage, especially in Nangarhar, Paktia and Kunar provinces. According to Nafisah, life in urban areas is much comfortable than the rural areas and villages. Therefore, to solve this gap, the government must provide equal opportunities to people living in urban and rural areas.

CSHRN: What are your major concerns about the peace agreements?

Nafisah: I wish lasting peace. However, most of the talks take place behind closed doors, countries in the region are involved, the peace agreement would be symbolic which will not end violence. In addition, the Taliban’s uncompromising nature will restrict women’s active participation in public life.

CSHRN: What should be the government’s red lines in the talks with the Taliban?

Nafisah: Women’s access to education and public affairs must be one of the redlines as educated women can better benefit their children and the society as a whole. Violence and discrimination against women must end with particular attention by the government to support women’s rights. According to Nafisah, if the Taliban integrates to the political structure, women’s chance to run for high-ranking position should still be available.

CSHRN: Will the Taliban remain committed to complying with their obligations after the talks?

Nafisah: I think the Taliban will not fulfill their obligations after any possible deal. Therefore, it is important that the international community and the United Nations must closely monitor the implementation of the peace agreements. She further added that women will never tolerate the Taliban’s draconian laws in case the group intends to impose after its participation in the government.

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