Human rights experts believe that protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens, especially women, is one of the issues that should be emphasized in peace talks.
In an interview by CSHRN, Mobinullah Aimaq said that the female members of the Afghan negotiating team should emphasize not ignoring women’s rights by amendment of the constitution.
CSHRN: Which rights do you think should be more emphasized?
Aimaq: The rights and freedoms recognized for every citizen in the constitution should be preserved in the peace agreement. Afghan women are free today. They have the right to education and work. They are teachers and doctors and have made great achievements in the economic sector. These achievements should be maintained.
CSHRN: Do female members of the negotiating team have the capacity to represent Afghan women?
Aimaq: I was opposing the composition of this team from the very beginning and I still talk against it. I believe that members of this team are not able to negotiate with Taliban. If this composition does not change, we will not probably reach a positive outcome. This negotiation requires representatives who can convince Taliban and defend the current political system and achievements of the people. We have elites who are better options for joining the government’s negotiating team and convince the opposing team.
Network: How can women’s presence in the negotiating team affect the Taliban’s view of women?
Aimaq: Based on what we have heard from two prominent members of the government’s negotiating team, the negotiation’s progress is not satisfactory.
CSHRN: Given the Taliban’s view, especially with regards to women, will the negotiations have a desired outcome?
Aimaq: Based on our understanding of negotiations progress, the Taliban’s view has not changed, especially with regards to women. By the Taliban’s taking power, restrictions will be imposed on women. Women will be discouraged from working and learning. The government must have specific policies to avoid such restrictions and preserve people’s achievements.
CSHRN: As an Afghan citizen, are these restrictions acceptable for you?
Aimaq: Restrictions of our rights and freedoms are acceptable for none of us. We have lived together in spite of having a different mindset for nearly two decades. Taliban’s grim legacy, in contrast, have plagued our lives and restricted our freedoms. Currently, people live in a peaceful environment by unprecedented freedoms provided by the new political system.
CSHRN: How do you assess the peace negotiations?
Aimaq: While the peace negotiations are going on in Doha, Taliban continue to commit crimes here in Afghanistan. They have not only abided by their commitment to the ceasefire, but they increased the volume of violence. Though it is disappointing, we have to wait until the final result of the US elections and assess the direction of the peace process afterward.
Mr. Aimaq said that it seems that conflicts will continue until Taliban are satisfied with their share of power. Therefore, the war will not end soon.