The creation of a separate assembly from the government by women is one of the issues that has been emphasized many times. According to some civil society activists, women’s independent movements and their nationwide advocacy could be one of the ways for them to succeed.
In an interview with the CSHRN, Zia Mobalegh, a civil society activist, said that women could represent more than half of the country’s population and protect their rights by creating independent movements.
“Many women’s movements, especially by the mothers of the victims in the world (such as Turkey and Argentina), have achieved great historic success, but in Afghanistan women have not yet been able to act as an independent movement to restore their rights.” Women’s groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are always trying to get what they want through the government. Therefore, from the Taliban’s point of view, they are the ones appointed by the government to negotiate.”
CSHRN: Will an Independent Women’s Movement Influence the Taliban?
Mobalegh: Such a movement, regardless of its immediate influence, must be created as an important need for the future and a voice from within the community, with the aim of influencing the Taliban. Its agenda must also be determined by the women themselves, not by those on both sides of the conflict. This movement must represent all women; meaning that women of all provinces and the Taliban’s widows. In short, the lack of such widespread representation would deprive women of their rights.
On the other hand, according to Mr. Moblagh, the gender composition of the negotiating team indicates the existence of beliefs that women do not need to participate extensively. He added that the number of women on the team shows that women’s rights and their right to participate in important national processes such as the peace process are being ignored. It shows that there is no need for adequate and equal representation of women and that women cannot set the agenda.
CSHRN: Should restrictions be accepted on women’s rights?
Mobalegh: Such a weak position on the part of women would lead to the imposition of a brutal government such as the Taliban Emirate on them. No restrictions should be accepted on the rights of citizens. Because such restrictions are justified on ideological grounds, and women may not be able to change their views.
CSHRN: What issues related to women should be discussed in the negotiations?
Mobalegh: The fundamental rights of all citizens, both men and women, should be the basis of the future system. The right to work and education, civil, political and cultural rights, are rights that are guaranteed in the constitution and even in the Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. There are many examples of Islamic countries that recognize these rights for all their citizens. Therefore, the issue of these rights being contrary to Sharia must be addressed, and dialogue with the Taliban on this issue depends on the government’s capacity and readiness for peace talks.
CSHRN: Is the government team is ready?
Mobalegh: There is no complete preparation for these talks, and the Afghan negotiating team has not yet been able to find convincing and correct answers to the Taliban’s suspicions in various cases.
CSHRN: How hopeful are you for the outcome of the negotiations?
Mobalegh: Obviously we all hope for a positive outcome, but if we expect the negotiators to take responsibility for this mission and end the war in Afghanistan, we are wrong; because neither side has the capacity and readiness for such a mission. On the other hand, in addition to the Taliban and other opposition groups, systematic discrimination, poverty, corruption and narcotics cultivation are among the causes of the war in Afghanistan that make it difficult to end the war in the country, even after a peace agreement.
According to this civil activist, experience shows that peace negotiations are more successful when one of the parties to the negotiations is somewhat in a weak position, but in the case of Afghanistan, this situation has not yet been raised; because the war between the two is somewhat in balance. Mr Moblagh added that the Taliban had won the support of large numbers of people by making religious claims to wage war, but that the government had so far failed to form a counter-discourse and disarm the Taliban in a soft war.