Kabul, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday ordered the formation of a council for the economic, social, and political empowerment of women in a historically unprecedented move for a deeply patriarchal country that has lived under the shadow of a decades-long war.
“President Ashraf Ghani, in accordance with the national constitution, issued a decree to establish the Women’s High Council,” the president’s office said in a statement.
The president will head the council that will focus on women empowerment, ensure their rights are protected and form and execute women-related policies in a better manner, it said.
Representatives of 26 governmental and non-government organizations, including deputy women governors, as well as rights and civil society activists will be appointed as members of the council.
It is the first of its kind body formed in the country that has been battling the nearly two decades of war since the hardline Islamist Taliban rulers were ousted in 2001.
The decision is one of the latest moves by Ghani’s government to ensure women get their due social and political positions in the country.
The president has made efforts to make women one of the centerpieces of Afghanistan’s governance.
Ghani in July decided to appoint female deputy governors in all of the country’s 34 provinces for the first time in Afghanistan’s political history.
Seven of them had already been appointed on these posts in Herat, Kabul, Daikundi, Bamyan, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces in 2018.
Hundreds of women now work as provincial ministers and deputy ministers.
For the first time in Afghan history, two women are serving as deputy ministers in the defense and interior ministries.
The country’s two important foreign missions at the United Nations and Afghan embassy in the United States are also led by women.
There have been widespread concerns regarding women’s rights in recent days as activists and politicians have demanded that the democratic system and equal rights for women remain non-negotiable in the peace talks with the Taliban that are expected to begin soon.
The Taliban, in their statements, have assured that they were no longer opposed to girls’ education and have also relaxed certain harsh regulations.
But a Human Rights Watch report, released on June 30, said the insurgents were still curtailing social liberties of women, including access to education.
Taliban leaders, according to the report, still don’t process cases of victims of domestic violence in their courts. EFE-EPA