Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that he will not sacrifice women’s rights in any peace deal with the Taliban.
In an interview, President Karzai discussed plans to negotiate peace with members of the Taliban who are willing to break ties with terrorist groups like al-Qaida, according to the Associated Press. Karzai reportedly said that Afghan women will have “solid and meaningful” representation at these negotiations, so that the political, economic and social gains that have been made for women in recent years will not only be protected, but will also be expanded.
Fawzia Koofi, the former Deputy Speaker of Afghanistan’s parliament, recently told Time Magazine that “Women’s rights must not be the sacrifice by which peace is achieved.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged in May that the United States will not abandon Afghan women and girls in it’s Afghanistan strategy.
In February 2010, Dr. Sima Samar, who leads Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission and Rachel Reid of Human Rights Watch, among others, testified before two subcommittees of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and warned that Afghan women must be included in the reconciliation and reintegration process. Samar stated that “reconciliation and reintegration cannot be successful without women’s rights and human rights being guaranteed and women being included in all aspects of the rebuilding of Afghanistan. The process must be transparent in order to gain the public support of the Afghan people.” Reid reported that women in Afghanistan “are concerned about the potential consequences of deals with insurgents for their basic rights – even those who are barely able to exercise these rights today.”