Women Must Fight Several Battles
A number of women’s rights activists believe that various issues in society are obstacles to women’s progress that they have to fight them.
In an interview by Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN), Ms. Naderi said that numerous factors hurdle women’s progress in Afghanistan. Alongside Taliban, the closed-minded men and women in our society holding the same view of women’s freedom as Taliban hampers the Afghan women’s contribution to the prosperity of society.
CSHRN: Given the history of Taliban, especially with regards to women, will the negotiations have a favorable outcome?
Naderi: I think it would be an irresponsible perspective if we biasedly approve our government’s position in negotiations and condemn other political fractions. Despite continuous world support and billions of dollars donations to Afghanistan, still we are not capable of putting and an end to the war, reduce poverty and have a convergent perspective of the future. It is essential for all of us, as much as Taliban, to understand the cruciality of our responsibility in helping the process of finding a way out for ongoing chaos and conflict. Introducing a negotiation party as savior and another one as evil does not help the process of solving the knot of two decades of conflict. We acknowledge that the path toward peace is tortuous; however, it would become easy to pass if both sides [government and Taliban] feel responsible for the future of innocent people in the country.
CSHRN: How can women’s presence in the peace talks affect the Taliban’s view of women?
Naderi: We need a national consensus to present a better picture of the current political system, equality, values of the constitution with its inclusiveness. At the peak of the crisis right now, women should fight for their rights and freedoms. Working at the government was a huge success for me. Because I wanted to turn a new chapter challenging the negative debates behind women. I have been representative of men and women in parliament supporting the right position for Afghans, especially the rights and freedoms of Afghan women.
Network: Do you think that the government’s negotiating team, especially the female members, have the capacity to defend the Afghan women’s rights?
Naderi: Female members of the government negotiating team are competent enough to represent deservingly Afghan women. They have a great responsibility and have the support of the people and the system. We hope that they turn the negotiations into opportunities. The citizens should not only support male but also female members of the negotiating team when they consider the interests of the country and the people. Considering the level of experience and knowledge that the [government] negotiating team has, I am confident that they will defend citizen’s rights properly.
CSHRN: How can the Taliban’s presence in the future government structure affect women’s activities? Will restrictions on women’s freedoms be backed by social acceptance?
Naderi: Taliban should know that those who lived during their rule were by no means like citizens, but more like peasants living in an absolute monarchy political system that enforces the law by whipping. Then, not only women but also men were forced to act as the Taliban wanted them to and even determined their type of clothing. Women and minorities can effectively claim their rights if the Taliban do not respect them after their participation in the future government.
CSHRN: What is your assessment of the peace talks so far?
Naderi: We have been aspiring to set peace from long ago and paid sacrifices for it. Long-lasting war and poverty make the pursuit of the peace process more complex. Decades of war in the country, especially the last two decades have drastically affected the lives of all Afghans. Though different generations have different demands from the peace talks, we need to establish a coherent perspective to reduce the complexity of the peace process.
CSHRN: What will guarantee that the Taliban abide by their commitments after the peace agreement?
Naderi: The international community must guarantee the Taliban’s commitments. The issue of Afghanistan’s security is related to security of the world.
Naderi: The government should focus on the opportunities created by peace talks and carefully address the challenges. She added that the time has come for them to use their political intelligence to play a key role in the most important historical event in the country.