Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 29th, 2020

WhyAfghan Women shall be Included in the Intr-Afghan Peace Talks

Afghan Women Have suffered more than any other social group during the rule of Taliban. The human rights record under Taliban was one of the worst records in the world. Taliban systematically repressed all social groups of the country and denied even the most basic individual rights. 
Abusing Women by the Taliban Opressive Regime
Before the rise of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan enjoyed protection of the law and they increasingly afforded rights in Afghan society.  Women received the right to vote in the 1920s; and as early as the 1960s, the Afghan constitution provided for equality for women. There was a mood of tolerance and openness as the country began moving toward democracy. Women were making important contributions to national development. In 1977, women comprised over 15% of Afghanistan’s highest legislative body. It is estimated that by the early 1990s, 70% of schoolteachers, 50% of government workers and university students, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women. Afghan women had been active in humanitarian relief organizations until the Taliban imposed severe restrictions on their ability to work.  During the Taliban women were imprisoned in their homes, and were denied access to basic health care and education.
Taliban immediately begun their assaults on the status of women after they took power in Kabul. The Taliban closed the women’s university and forced nearly all women to quit their jobs, closing down an important source of talent and expertise for the country. It restricted access to medical care for women, brutally enforced a restrictive dress code, and limited the ability of women to move about the city.
The Taliban perpetrated egregious acts of violence against women, including rape, abduction, and forced marriage. Some families resorted to sending their daughters to Pakistan or Iran to protect them.
As many as 50,000 women, who had lost husbands and other male relatives during Afghanistan’s long civil war, had no source of income. Many were reduced to selling all of their possessions and begging in the streets, or worse, to feed their families.
Women Were Deinie Education and Health Care
Restricting access of women to work was an attack on women. Eliminating women’s access to education was an assault on women tomorrow.
The Taliban ended, for all practical purposes, education for girls. Since 1998, girls over the age of eight have been prohibited from attending school. Home schooling, while sometimes tolerated, was more often repressed.  As a result of these measures, the Taliban was ensuring that women would continue to sink deeper into poverty and deprivation, thereby guaranteeing that tomorrow’s women would have none of the skills needed to function in a modern society.
Under Taliban rule, women were given only the most rudimentary access to health care and medical care, thereby endangering the health of women, and in turn, their families. In most hospitals, male physicians could only examine a female patient if she were fully clothed, ruling out the possibility of meaningful diagnosis and treatment.
These Taliban regulations led to a lack of adequate medical care for women and contributed to increased suffering and higher mortality rates. As a result, Afghanistan had the world’s second worst rate of maternal death during childbirth. About 16 out of every 100 women died giving birth.
The Taliban also required that windows of houses be painted over to prevent outsiders from possibly seeing women inside homes, further isolating women who once led productive lives and contributing to a rise in mental health problems. Physicians for Human Rights reported high rates of depression and suicide among Afghan women. 
Restrictions on Movement
Taliban In urban areas brutally enforced a dress code that required women to be covered under a burqa that covers them from head to toe.  While the burqa existed prior to the Taliban, its use was not required. As elsewhere in the Muslim world and the United States, women chose to use the burqa as a matter of individual religious or personal preference. In Afghanistan, however, the Taliban enforced the wearing of the burqa with threats, fines, and on-the-spot beatings. Even the accidental showing of the feet or ankles was severely punished. No exceptions were allowed. One woman who became violently carsick was not permitted to take off the garment. When paying for food in the market, a woman’s hand could not show when handing over money or receiving the purchase. Even girls as young as eight or nine years old were expected to wear the burqa.
Violation of Basic Rights of Women
The Taliban claimed it was trying to ensure a society in which women had a safe and dignified role. But the facts show the opposite. Women were stripped of their dignity under the Taliban. They were made unable to support their families. Girls were deprived of basic health care and of any semblance of schooling. They were even deprived of their childhood under a regime that took away their songs, their dolls, and their stuffed animals were banned by the Taliban.
Indeed, the Taliban’s discriminatory policies violate many of the basic principles of international human rights law. These rights included the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, the right to work, the right to education, freedom of movement, and the right to health care. 
After Taliban were outseted, Afghan civil society and community-based activists worked hard to begin reconstructing their society and rebuild their own country. Women have played an important role in these efforts  Public concern for Afghan women and girls is growing in the the country amid the Intra-Afghan talks.The Afghan people want a broad-based representative government, which includes women, in post-Talks Afghanistan. They want any future Afghan government should be multi-ethnic, representative, and respect human rights, including those affecting women and girls.  Only Afghans shall determine the future government of their counry. And Afghan women should have the right to choose their role in that future.
All Afghans want peace in the country. However, peace gained at the price of the rights of women is no peace at all, just conflict and oppression by different means. It would be a betrayal of the huge sacrifices made by the Afghan people and security forces, and by many brave international servicemen and women. Women should be fully included in the  Intra-Afghan talks, and a peace deal that undermines Afghan women’s rights under the constitution or calls into question the country’s democratic institutions is not acceptable. Afghan government shall honor its promise to protect Afghan women during the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban scheduled for coming days.Afghan women must not be forgotten or left to stand alone during this crucial period in their country’s history.