Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

The Education of Women: A National Redline in Peace Process

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The Education of Women: A National Redline in Peace Process

The Doha peace process has raised a lot of concerns about future of women in Afghanistan. The women of Afghanistan have repeatedly raised their concerns  and worries that the outcome of the talks should not return them to the black past when they were lashed if appeared in social arena without a male companion .
From 1996 to 2001, the social, economic, political, and more importantly the educational rights of women were entirely violated. In fact, they had experienced the bitterest time during the mentioned period of the history . In 2014, when the current president of Afghanistan had nominated himself for the post of presidency with the slogan of if a girl is educated a generation will be educated while if a boy is educated only an individual will be educated ”, this slogan helped him to attract more votes than his opponent candidates in the country. Therefore, the educations of women are more important in public opinion of Afghanistan, especially for Afghan women because it plays a central role in women self-empowerment inside and outside their families .
Unfortunately, it seems that the issue of women, especially the women education has not solved for Taliban yet. For example, during the current year as many as 184 girls could not attend in the national kankoor (pre-university exam) due to the Taliban threats in Badakhshan based on local news. Accordingly, many girls schools have been ignited throughout the country by the Taliban fighters. Even, during rule of Taliban from 1996 to 2001, they had not only showed their hostilities against women but also against men who were frequently punished for their beard and also burnt a number of books written by the foreign scholars. In fact, the Taliban does not have a hostile views against women only but also against science and modernist manifestations. In last two decades, they have been repeatedly blamed for killing of prominent scholars, journalists and destructions of mosques, educational centers and also economical infrastructure .
Although Afghan people, especially Afghan women have repeatedly expressed concerns about future of women, the Taliban has provided no clear response to the people. In fact, their response is ambiguous about everything, including women issue .
They say that they would provide the rights of women accordance with Islamic rule and regulations while no one knows what Islam they are talking about. The practical interpretations about Islam which they  showed two decades ago had not seen before and not acceptable by Muslim world. They did not allow women for work, education, outside without male while these rights are not prohibited in Islam and neither the Islamic countries have deprived them from these basic rights. Given the report cart of Taliban in the past and given the inflexible position of Taliban against government and Afghan people, no one is sure what would happen if the «Islamic Emirate » re-dominates on the country.  Therefore, any peace agreement with Taliban should be with practical and written guarantee about women freedom, minorities rights and democratic values in the country .
If the Taliban are really intended to build a sustainable and just peace in Afghanistan, they are the most welcomed but they need to familiarize themselves with demand of time and also others understanding from Islam. If they can kill a few moderate scholars because of their different understanding from Islam, how they can kill or ignore about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world .
They should note that the participation of women is considered as symbol of development and modernization in today s world including Muslim world. the great Moftis such as Ayatullah Faiyaz has accepted the presence of women social and political area. On the other hand, Afghan women have played very constructive role in last two decades. In last two decades women have played very important role in development of Afghanistan, especially in educational field .
 In Afghanistan, as women have the responsibility of house management, they often prefer part time  job such as teaching. Therefore, a large number of women began working as teacher in schools and universities while the managers of schools and universities also feel that women are more committed to their jobs and duties in training of children. Accordingly, many Afghan families also prefer to send their children in front of female teacher as they found them more patient and passionate to their children, especially in primary and intermediate stage. Therefore, the Afghan women have not only played a constructive role social arena but also contributed to the economy of their families and training of new generation in the country. Consequently, neither the new generation of Afghanistan who have been largely trained and educated by the women and nor the women community are ready to go back 1996 to 2001which known as black era in the country .
In general, it is the humanitarian obligation of all stakeholders including Taliban, government and international partners to listen to concerns of women as national redline in Afghanistan. They should not only ensure the women s rights but also the rights of minority groups if , in fact, they want to make peace in the country. Afghan people and Afghan women do not want peace at any cost. Women comprise half of the society, and more vulnerable given the past experience. Hence, their rights and freedom must not be dealt at any cost.  As pointed out, the Afghan allies and Afghan negotiators are expected to remain committed for protection women s rights and freedom. The Taliban must not e that neither the current generation of Afghanistan is the generation of twenty years before and nor the women of today are not the women of twenty years ago and so Taliban must be convinced to respect the two decades achievement costly attained in the country as it is respected by the scholars of Islamic world. Accordingly,  if the Taliban are really loyal to the Islam and Islamic values, they need to listen to advices of Islamic world scholars  with declaring a global ceasefire and putting an end to the illegitimate war in the country .

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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