At an event held yesterday at the United States Institute of Peace, the Afghan Minister for Women’s Affairs, Hasina Safi, stressed that we must build on the achievements of the Afghan people, especially Afghan women.
In her remarks, Minister Hasina Safi said, “There have been significant gains in all sectors. Today when we speak of the peace process, I believe it is very critical that we have to keep all the achievements. 20 years ago, we started from zero. We have made great achievements and we are all talking about the progress with much pride.”
Safi mentioned that right after the Taliban was removed from power, “We started from awareness, moved to capacity building, moved to participation, and today we are talking about responsibilities and meaningful participation which will definitely take us even further.” She recalled the early days after the collapse of the Taliban that, “We were looking for literate women but today, 29% of the civil servants are women and 28% of the parliament seats are occupied by women. We almost had no women judges and today we have around 261 women judges and 643 prosecutors.” These achievements are in addition to many other areas, including education, health, trade, and the economy.
Safi asks the international community to have “confidence” in the women of Afghanistan as they “have proven themselves and have been taking each step very responsibly towards entering the negotiations.” While praising Afghan women and her nation, she also urged the international community to take their share of the responsibility in the peace process too.
Dr. Habiba Sarabi another panelist and a woman member of the Afghan government’s negotiation team said that “after much pressure from Afghan women’s rights groups and our international allies, the Taliban group is now willing to talk about women’s rights but only according to Islam.” She clarified that their “willingness does not mean that the Taliban themselves want to talk about women’s issues.” She gives much credit to the Afghan women’s rights groups and the international allies who have been speaking up for the rights of Afghan women in the peace process.
She believes that the “Taliban must accept women. Women are part of the society. The Taliban must face today’s women and today’s situation. Today’s situation is not the same as it was in 1996 when the Taliban took over or for that matter in the late 1990s when they ruled.” During the Taliban rule, all human rights of the women of Afghanistan were taken away and women were forced to stay home.
Sources: USIP 10/7/20