Conflicts & War

Afghan govt, Taliban urged to ensure women participation in peace process

Kabul, Jun 4 (efe-epa).- The Afghan government and the Taliban must ensure participation of women to make the Afghan peace process meaningful, several foreign envoys, including those from the European Union, said Thursday.

The envoys in a joint statement issued in Kabul stressed that the fundamental rights of Afghan women enshrined in the country’s constitution “must be preserved and strengthened as part of the peace process”.

“It is now urgent that both the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban insist on the meaningful participation of women in these negotiations. History shows peace agreements are more durable and successful when women are fully integrated and engaged,” the statement said.

It said women must be included in all dimensions of the peace process and allowed participation in leadership councils, negotiating teams, consultative groups, technical and advisory teams.

“We urge both sides to redouble efforts to appoint a greater number of qualified women to these bodies,” it said.

“No country can succeed while ignoring half its population. The chance for a peaceful and prosperous future Afghanistan relies on recognizing the power and harnessing the unrealized potential of Afghan women.”

The Afghan government has included five women in its 21-member negotiation team announced on March 26 for talks with the Taliban.

The government has also given its nod to form the High Council for National Reconciliation headed by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s former rival Abdullah Abdullah for leading the efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban.

The formation of the council is still a work in progress and the inclusion of any women participant is not known as yet.

Abdullah said on May 30 that the efforts on the formation of the council have been “accelerated” and the names of the members of its leadership committee would be finalized soon.

Latif Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Afghan Presidential palace, told EFE that they would soon respond to the concerns and demand of the foreign envoys regarding women participation in the peace process.

The Taliban, which has never had a woman as a member of its political office and team of negotiators, refused to talk about the issue immediately.

The envoys who signed the statement include those from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

They expressed a hope that the much-anticipated intra-Afghan negotiations will begin soon and welcomed the formation of a council for national reconciliation.

The intra-Afghan negotiations, which were slated to be started on March 10, have been delayed for nearly three months due to the disagreement on a prisoner exchange between Kabul and the Taliban. EFE-EPA


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