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

The Women’s Concerns About Future

As a result of two decades fights and sacrifices, there has been some improvement to women’s rights in Afghanistan. Now, number of women are able to enjoy hard-won freedoms, but they fear these will be lost if the Taliban return to power unconditionally.  Recently, the extremist group has shown their intention about women’s rights and freedom with attacks on a woman member of peace negotiating team, Fawzia Kofi. The concerns of women also link to ambiguity and obstacles of peace process. Since the United States signed a security deal with the Taliban on February 29, prisoners’ exchanges have been a key obstacle to peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government. After three deliberations, however, the Loya Jirga recommended freeing the prisoners which relatively paved the way for the intra-Afghan dialogue.
The intra-Afghan talks may result in return of Taliban in political management of the country while there are serious concerns about women rights and minority group rights in the country. Despite Pompeo’s assurance to the Loya Jirga that the Taliban have “committed to significantly reduce violence,” casualty figures since the U.S.-Taliban peace deal have remained among the highest on record. And while Americans focus on Russian bounties for coalition lives, Afghan women remain deeply concerned for their own. The United States and the international community, through effective monitoring and aid conditionality, have the power to support Afghan women, even if the Taliban joins a future government. Otherwise, the repeated attacks of active women of the country have clearly showed the position of extremist groups about human rights in the country.    
As abovementioned, Afghan women have fought hard for their rights since 2001.now, women are in government, own businesses, and run NGOs and yet there is still a significant urban-rural divide and over 50 percent of the population lives on less than $1 per day. Amidst war, widespread poverty, and illiteracy, the country remains culturally conservative. Despite incredible progress, Afghan women still need outside support. Women cannot count solely on government which fully or partially establishment by Taliban as there is probability that the Taliban will have more extreme position about women rights when they fully or partially hold the power. In addition, there are some inactive elements that are potentially threat to women’s rights and human rights yet have not divulged their actual intention due to lack of desirable circumstances. For example, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former U.S.-designated terrorist, signed a peace deal in 2016 and his party, Hizb-e-Islami, is in the government now. On women’s rights he may be more conservative than the Taliban. Sometimes ago a female singer once asked Hekmatyar whether she could sing if he were president of Afghanistan. His answer, “Let’s allow an Islamic government to be established then you will not ask for a concert.’’
However, women will have seats at the approaching intra-Afghan dialogue but tokenization is a significant threat. On the other side, the Taliban’s insistence that they support women’s rights “as granted by Islam” is vague, at best. Afghanistan is already an Islamic republic that the Taliban is at war with the government suggests the country is not “Islamic enough” in their eyes. Seats at the negotiating table today are important, but positions of power in the future are critical. There are two ways that humanitarian organization and international community can support Afghan women. First, sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires monitoring from a neutral international organization. Second, the international community must make aid to Afghanistan conditional on progress for women and minority groups in the country.
there are several organizations that can act as mediators. All parties have accepted the International Committee of the Red Cross as an observer for prisoner exchanges. Afghans also continue to trust the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). After 40 years of war, incentives for demobilization are few. These organizations, and others, can report to aid-giving governments on the status of women’s rights, corruption, and violations of ceasefires. In fact, the international community should act as lifeline in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. Even the Taliban wants aid to continue meanwhile, Afghan women are the greatest advocates for their own rights, and others should also play their supporting role.
In March it announced a $1 billion cut during the Ghani-Abdullah feud, if such methods are used against extremist groups it can create hopes for the future of women and minority groups in the country. Women’s participation in politics, society, and the economy is as important as the typical security and geopolitical concerns; women do, after all, account for about 50 percent of all Afghan citizens. The “size and scope” of future foreign assistance must be contingent on women’s rights and minority groups’ rights. One tangible example: There is a quota for women’s representation in parliament, 27 percent if the Taliban wants to remove this quota; the international community should cut aid.
The Taliban many want a new constitution but according to the declaration of the Peace Consultative Jirga, any ammendment in the Constitution shall be made according to the framework identified in the Constitution of Afghanistan. The Taliban cannot fully annul treaties signed over the past 20 years, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Again, if this occurs, the international community should cut aid. Despite many concerns and pessimism, it is expected the current peace process will bring the chance for peace but that peace cannot come at the expense of the progress which Afghan women have made over the past 20 years and so the Taliban must update their views according to the requirements of modern age in 21th century.