During a large gathering to celebrate Eid and Afghanistan’s Independence Day on Tuesday, women in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan courageously called on the Taliban to stop violence and take steps towards enduring peace in the country.

Afghan women have repeatedly called for more representation in the ongoing peace negotiations aimed at ending 18 years of conflict which has resulted in thousands of civilian and military casualties. Khost governor, Mohammad Halim Fidaee, said that “women should be given a role in the peace process”.

Yet neither the Afghan government nor Afghan women have been included in the ongoing negotiations between the US government and the Taliban. Afghan women’s groups and the Afghan government have repeatedly demanded direct representation in negotiations with the Taliban.

Negotiations that exclude Afghan women appear to be a direct violation of the U.S. Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 that requires “meaningful participation of women in mediation and negotiation processes seeking to prevent, mitigate, or resolve violent conflict.” Research shows that “peace negotiations are more likely to succeed and to result in durable peace agreements when women participate in the peace processes.”

Sources: Tolo News 8/14/19; Tolo News; U.S. Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017

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