One of the major concerns about the outcome of the peace talks is imposing restrictions on women’s rights. Some believe that it would be wrong for the Taliban to link between the ban of women’s presence in society with their interpretations of religious teachings. Women’s basic rights and fundamental freedoms such as right to work and right to education rights are preserved in religion and any restrictions on these rights are not acceptable.
In an interview with the CSHRN, Mr. Faizi said that they advocate for women’s freedom based on law, and the rights that Islam provides for women are undeniable. As we know, education in Islam is presumed for both men and women and, therefore, it is unacceptable for the Taliban to say that women do not have the right to education. Additionally, according to Afghanistan’s law, men and women have equal rights and are equal.
CSHRN: Can women’s rights activists operate freely in the possible post peace agreement wherein Taliban will take over and share parts of the power in the agreed-upon government?
Faizi: It will be clarified over time. However, we hope that the Taliban will not have a problem with women’s activities.
CSHRN: How satisfactory do you think the role of women in peace talks is?
Faizi: Women have a high status in our culture, in some parts of the country, women act as mediators to solve problems that rises among the people. The role of women in peace negotiation is equally undeniable. We support the women of the negotiating team and we know that they can defend their rights.
CSHRN: How prepared is the Afghan negotiating team?
Faizi: Unfortunately, a number of members of the government’s negotiating team at the opening meeting did not show sufficient ability to clarify issues under discussion but some of them have the ability to speak and reason logically. In my opinion, the composition of the team should have been reconsidered before the start of the Intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha, and more capable people should have been selected to participate in the negotiations.
CSHRN: How will the presence of the Taliban in power after the peace talks affect civic activities?
Faizi: Civil society activists are a bridge between the government and the people. They have always taken steps for the good of the people and have tried to solve their problems. We hope that the Taliban’s participation in power will not have a negative impact on the activities of civil society activists; because this group is neutral and has always worked for the benefit of the citizens.
According to Mr. Faizi, in order to ensure that the Taliban’s commitments are not violated, the international community must guarantee that the group’s commitments are met.
CSHRN: What are your main concerns about peace talks?
Faizi: My first concern is that the interim government might be announced; and the current government which is the result of two decades of experience and has many achievements might be replaced. Another concern is that there might be no government at all which will lead to disorder in the society, failure to preserve achievements and eventually will lead to the start of war.
CSHRN: What is your prediction of the outcome of the peace talks?
Faizi: It is very worrying to hear about issues such as the formation of an interim government. I was deeply moved by the remarks of the US Secretary of State, who said do not destroy the future generations and build Afghanistan by your own. I hope this will affect the government and the Taliban to support peace efforts.
Mr Faizi hoped that the women in the government’s negotiating team would share and defend their demands with the Taliban. According to him, the protection of the rights and recent achievements of the citizens and the provision of justice should be among the priorities. Otherwise, the outcome of the negotiations will not be acceptable to the people and a lasting peace will not be achieved.