A number of civil society activists believe that ignoring women’s rights in peace negotiations may create a situation in which women’s full access to their rights will be prevented.

In an interview with the Civil Society and Human Rights Network (hereafter referred to as “Network”), Waseq Hussaini said that if female members of the government’s negotiating team in peace talks do not mention the protection of women’s rights as one of their red lines, Afghan they will face problems in the future. He added that Women make up half of the country’s population, and their rights should be the red line in the negotiations. Otherwise, women will be forced to be satisfied with the minimum rights.

Network: Do you think that female members of the government’s negotiating team have the ability to defend women’s rights?

Hussaini: Although the team members are experienced and hardworking; but the presence of the young generation in the team is low.

If the youth are also included in the Afghan peace negotiation team, women’s rights would be better protected as youth act more actively than their old figures.

Network: How does the presence of women in peace talks affect the quality of this process?

Hussaini: Women’s participation is influential because the most sensitive issue in the Taliban ideology is the issue of women. If the Taliban show flexibility in this matter and accept the presence of women in society, they will be flexible in other matters as well.

Network: Do you think there has been a change in the Taliban’s view of women?

Hussaini: The Taliban believe in Islam with their strict interpretation and the liberal and democratic position of women is not acceptable to them. But this group has to accept some issues in order to attract the attention of the international community. However, the Taliban’s overall view of women has not changed. Therefore, if they agree to peace and participate in the government, issues such as women’s presence in the society, in accordance with the Taliban law, will be major challenges for women.

Network: Many believe that the view of Taliban political leaders is different from that of the Taliban on the battlefield. In this case, do you think that negotiating with a group that is not a direct audience of the government will have a favorable result?

Hussaini: I think the Taliban leadership is deeply in control of its position and has ties to foreign countries and its supporters. But a large number of Taliban are on the battlefield. They are not even aware of the negotiations and they are waging jihad for the sake of God.  Most of the Taliban will accept the peace agreement. Some of them will not change their position because associating with a government supported by a foreign country is not acceptable to them.

Network: What do you think the success of the government’s negotiating team depends on?

Hussaini: It depends on the government being able to maintain its independence. According to Mr. Hussaini, there must be an executive guarantee to ensure the Taliban adheres to their commitments. Otherwise, the Taliban are now attacking the government from outside; when they join the government, they will be able to reintegrate into society quite easily.

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