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Women and Afghan Peace Talks: ‘Peace consensus’ gathering left Afghan women unassured

Women and Afghan Peace Talks: 'Peace consensus' gathering left Afghan women unassured

President Ashraf Ghani and his wife, Rula Ghani, on the ejma, the Nationwide Ladies’s Consensus for Peace held in late February 2019 in Kabul. Photograph: President’s website.

One of the recurrent themes around the US-Taleban negotiations to finish the Afghan warfare (thus far with out participation of the Afghan authorities) is the demand of Afghan ladies for “meaningfully participation” in the preparations for inclusive peace talks. This expectation also figured at a nationwide consensus gathering (ejma) in Kabul in late February this yr. The ejma – shortened from a two to a half day occasion – fell in need of being an actual session. However, the ladies’s broader marketing campaign has influenced the Afghan and US’s messaging, although up to now this has not resulted in any concrete steps. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig, who observed the ejma’s proceedings, seems back at the gathering and summarises the arguments (with enter from AAN’s Rohullah Sorush who participated within the event and Sari Kouvo).

Calls for for “meaningful participation”

Round three,000 ladies came together after months of preparations for the Nationwide Ladies’s Consensus for Peace (Ejma-ye Melli-ye Zanan bara-ye Solh, or ejma for short) held in Kabul’s Loya Jirga tenton 28 February. 700 of them – in accordance with President Ashraf Ghani (the unique textual content of his speech alternating between Pashto and Dari may be found right here) – attended from the provinces. (1) The occasion was a response to widespread demands – from within government and out of doors – for “meaningful participation” of girls in the hoped-for peace talks with the Taleban (for the calls for, see, for example, this statement by AWN; for background about Taleban, US and Afghan authorities politicking across the talks, read this AAN dispatch).

The notion of meaningful participation goes beyond merely being consulted about, or having token illustration in, attainable peace negotiations. As said by Afghanistan Unbiased Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) chairwoman Sima Samar, when launching AIHRC’s ongoing survey on the peace course of, Afghan ladies need “a meaningful and larger participation in any respect levels of the peace efforts.” She warned towards persevering with “the system of impunity” (for media reporting concerning the AIHRC’s survey, see here and here).

The Afghan Ladies’s Community’s six level assertion revealed before the so-called intra-Afghan dialogue meeting held in Moscow in February 2019 (more concerning the meeting here), offers additional steerage concerning the concrete calls for of Afghan ladies, asking to:

  • deliver Afghan ladies to the desk
  • not select peace without human rights
  • be direct about ladies’s rights
  • not change the political order
  • not compromise regulation and order in the country and
  • not reduce it off from the international group.

The statement appreciated the participation of “some ladies” in talks like those in Moscow, however made it clear that this was not but what they thought-about “significant” participation of “all strata of society.” It additional stated that “Afghan ladies would not settle for peace purchased at the cost of their hard-gained freedoms and rights” and that “momentary restrictions on ladies’s rights within the identify of peace and security [were] completely unacceptable.” The latter is a reference to the often-heard Taleban claim (throughout their 1996-2001 rule and in some areas at present underneath their management) that the suspension of women’ schooling, for instance, was because of the safety state of affairs and might be lifted once circumstances allowed. (Read additionally this current AAN guest dispatch concerning the dialogue concerning the Afghan structure in the context of the peace talks.)

Thus far, Afghan ladies have been under-represented in all key peace-related meetings and bodies. In the November 2018 Moscow convention on Afghanistan (see AAN background here), just one Afghan lady sat at the desk. She was Habiba Sarabi who, as deputy of the High Peace Council (HPC), was considered one of its four-member delegation. On the February 2019 ‘intra-Afghan dialogue’, also in Moscow, solely two ladies have been invited, out of a complete 70-100 members (numbers diversified from everyday). They have been former members of parliament, Fauzia Kufi, and HPC member, Hawa Nuristani, who’s now head of the Unbiased Electoral Commission. Ladies’s participation within the HPC when it was newly composed in 2018 by President Ashraf Ghani has been expanded. Nevertheless, because the council has now been tasked with primarily focussing on consensus constructing inside Afghanistan by the president – who additionally appoints its members –,  it has misplaced its position as an lively participant in potential negotiations (AAN evaluation right here and right here). (2)

The present authorities group for future negotiations with the Taleban consists of three ladies among its 12 members: Hasina Safi, Minister of Info and Culture; Dr Alema (one identify solely), Deputy Minister of Refugees and Repatriation and Shahgul Rezayi, a former member of parliament (see media report on the staff right here and AAN evaluation right here). This one quarter representation is a better-than-usual proportion, but is decrease than the quota for ladies in parliament (one third). It is appreciable decrease than the 50 % demanded by ladies activists in the run-up to the ejma gathering, as ladies comprise half of the population. When President Ghani mentioned peace efforts with a gaggle of ‘outstanding political leaders’ on 3 April, and, on the identical day, US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad additionally mentioned with Afghan prime politicians, as he tweeted, “the need of an inclusive #Afghan negotiating workforce”, ladies have been solely missing at the table, as photographs showed (on Ghani’s meeting right here, and here in Khalilzad’s tweet).

It is very important notice that, even if there were ladies’s representation in any respect levels of the peace course of and, even when efforts have been made to collect ladies’s views, this, in itself, is inadequate to ensure that compromises will not be made on ladies’s rights in any peace settlement. The ejma fell brief on all counts, as shall be shown under. It did not ensure ladies can be meaningfully represented in a peace process, or that the federal government would seek the advice of with them, or that it might guarantee their rights wouldn’t be compromised and their interests taken under consideration.

Who organised the ejma and who participated?

The organisers of the National Ladies’s Consensus for Peace, or ejma, have been the Workplace of the First Woman, Rula Ghani; the Ministry for Ladies’s Affairs; the High Peace Council, with Habiba Sarabi, its deputy chair and one of many country’s most high-ranking ladies in a central position; and, the Afghan Ladies’s Network (AWN), one of the crucial well-connected and influential umbrella organisations in Afghan civil society. These organisations had joined arms beneath an umbrella referred to as Afghan Ladies for Peace(AWP) (on social media right here). Government presence within the AWP marketing campaign was robust with Hasina Safi, the former head of AWN and current appearing minister of tradition and knowledge; Dr Alema, deputy ministry of refugees; Marjan Matin, deputy minister of schooling; and Shafiqa Qadiri and Aseya Akhundzada, two more members of the government-appointed HPC.

The first gathering was held in Kabul on 24 Assad 1397 (15 August 2018), in response to the speech of Rula Ghani on the ejma. She stated “we went to the provinces, held meetings with ladies and listened to them (…) as a result of the state of affairs in provinces and villages is totally different from that in Kabul city. (…) We collected the concepts from all of the provinces.” HPC member Malalai Shinwari, one of many organisers, was quoted by the New York Occasions as saying that “delegations of girls” from Kabul had spoken with 15,000 ladies across the country in preparation for the event.

Zohra Yosuf, media advisor to Rula Ghani and the ejma’s announcer, reported a total of three,000 ladies participated within the gathering. This means the 700 provincial representatives have been outnumbered by over 2,000 other ladies, lots of whom, as members confirmed to AAN, had been personally invited by the organising bodies and, particularly, the First Woman’s workplace.

The ejma had been preceded by a large gathering the week before at the presidential palace, with 1,300 members from ladies’s organisations and different sectors of civil society. In line with Negina Yari from Maidan-Wardak province, head of the non-governmental organisation Afghanistan for Tomorrow (A4T) who attended: “We have been advised that it was a gathering of civil society activists and youth [to] gather ladies’s demands and submit them to the federal government, after which the government would think about those calls for in negotiations with the Taleban. (…) There were 1,300 individuals, however solely few from civil society. A lot of the [participating] ladies have been from the Workplace of Administrative Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and other government staff. (…) Definitely, such ladies [alone] can’t characterize civil society and all ladies in Afghanistan.” At the finish, Yari stated the president joined the assembly however he “emphasised more on the intra-Afghan talks and that the government ought to have a delegation to speak to the Taleban.” (Rula Ghani was not current.) Yari added that she felt that the duplication of conferences – by each the palace and the Afghan Ladies for Peace – reflected a scarcity of organisation between the Arg and people who have been on the ejma’s consultative board.

The ejma: a two-day consultation turns into an event of speeches

The ejma had initially been deliberate as a two-day event on 25-26 February, however it ended up being each delayed and minimize brief to a mere three-and-a-half hour occasion. This clearly significantly restricted the time and alternatives for the ladies gathered to precise themselves. The selection of a Thursday for the occasion was additionally poor (probably deliberately so). As AAN’s researcher at the scene witnessed, most of those present have been keen to have lunch shortly after the morning session and depart for the weekend. This was somewhat shocking given the importance of the subject and the variety of often devoted ladies activists current, but it might have been because of the obligations many women faced with the weekend simply across the corner.

The ejma’s proceedings have been framed by the speeches of Rula Ghani, who opened with temporary remarks, and her husband, the president, who closed with a longer speech through which he switched between his Pashto mom tongue and Dari, a apply established by his predecessor, Hamed Karzai. After the speech, there was a remaining photograph op for the president with outstanding ladies activists in uniform sporting peace-blue headscarves. Nevertheless, crucially, his speech fell in need of giving any assurances that the ladies would get significant participation in the negotiations with the Taleban – what was their major demand. As an alternative, he repeated the promise that ladies would make up 30 per cent of the representatives of the planned consultative loya jirga on peace (initially scheduled before the Persian/Afghan new yr, Nawruz, on 21 March, however now delayed till late April 2019).

Although Ghani stated in his speech that the ladies would sit together with representatives of 26 different “social groups” (aqshar) within the jirga, there was no mention of how they might be chosen. There was no attempt to make use of the chance offered by the ejma to choose them from among the many members (a Kunar delegate, among others, informed AAN she had thought that may occur). The choice for the peace loya jirga stays in the palms of the organising committee which former interior minister Omar Daudzai leads. Deputy finance minister, Nahid Sarabi, among others, was added to the committee as head of political affairs in late March 2019.

In between the presidential speeches, there was a role-play by ladies about peace, some poetry and a video with scenes of pre-mujahedin and pre-Taleban Afghanistan with some ladies dressed within the then newest fashions, juxtaposed with a current image of the bloody aftermath of a suicide bombing. In what was expected to be the primary a part of the agenda, solely six individuals spoke. Most of them have been from Kabul and all of them have been preselected. There was no alternative for spontaneous contributions.

The first was a prolonged speech by Zainab Movahed, a college lecturer with spiritual schooling, a member of Jamiat-e Islami get together and an unsuccessful candidate in the 2018 parliamentary elections. She spoke about ladies’s roles in politics, financial system and peace through the lifetime of the prophet and their historical position in peace-making in Afghanistan. (three) The opposite speakers have been deputy minister of justice, Dr Zakia Adeli (additionally a author and poet); journalist and well-known ladies activist, Shafiqa Habibi; Gita Stated, a former high school instructor and head of ladies’s affairs in Almar district in Faryab province (she additionally ran in the 2018 parliamentary elections and is near Jombesh-e Melli get together); and two lesser recognized ladies, Shafiqa Sadat, and Atefa Nuristani.

In all of the speeches, beginning with Rula Ghani, the Quran was a lot quoted – clearly an try and bolster the federal government’s Islamic credentials and show to the Taleban that the women’s demands weren’t ‘un-Islamic.’

There was additionally ample reference to the constitution, which the Taleban reject and need to change. Announcer Zohra Yosuf insisted on the constitutionally equal rights of girls and insisted, “I’m a citizen of Afghanistan and I have my own position to play for peace in my country.” Roshan Tseran of the Afghan Ladies‘s Human Rights Research Centre (AWHRSC) summarised the argument most clearly to AAN: “We do not demand greater than what the regulation and Islam give us.”

Aside from the primary speakers, five representatives of conflict victims’ households were given the floor. All of them spoke of their struggling and highlighted that, in the words of one, ladies and women have been “extra uninterested in the conflict than anyone else.” But additionally they stated they needed “a peace by which ladies’s rights and the rights for struggle victims aren’t lost … not at any value … and not at the price of sacrificing justice.” They demanded that perpetrators should a minimum of apologise to the individuals. One lady who tried to speak outdoors the schedule was minimize brief by the announcer when, in response to the New York Occasions, she “spoke sharply” to President Ghani before his speech urging him to “put killers in jail, not make peace with them.” The Occasions gave her identify as Narges Qurbani, 48, and stated the Taleban had killed her husband in 1997 and later wounded her son, a soldier. As the Occasions wrote, president Ghani did not respond.

Announcer Zohra Yosuf was later quoted by the Kabul-based Afghanistan Occasions as criticising leading male politicians for not attending the ejma, despite being invited. She notably singled out Qiamuddin Kashaf, the top of the ulema council, senate chairman, Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, lawyer common, Farid Hamidi, and peace jirga organiser, Omar Daudzai.

The gathering’s ultimate declaration

The ejma’s last declaration (full textual content right here) was not as strongly worded because the February AWN assertion. The declaration was largely a reiteration of the federal government’s place on peace and peace talks. This is not shocking, given the best way the gathering proceeded and the fact that the statement had been pre-drafted by the organisers, who have been principally authorities bodies. The one new demand in the statement was for an instantaneous “unconditional ceasefire” to be announced by all fighters.

Moreover, the draft statement had not been distributed through the assembly and individuals advised AAN it had merely been learn out to the audience. There was no time to recommend amendments and, although there was a vote, this was solely symbolic.

The declaration supported “a peace process led by the Afghan government [and] in compliance with the [current] Constitution” and demanded that negotiations between Afghans have to be “underneath the management of the government.” This can be a reflection of the fact that the government feels – and has to date been – excluded from the US-Taleban talks and the intra-Afghan dialogues. The declaration’s authors additionally took the federal government’s position in condemning any plans to determine an interim government.

The initial key demand of activists – for significant participation of girls in all future talks – did not make it into the ultimate declaration. There was not even any reference to the promised ‘guaranteed’ participation within the peace jirga. The statement solely urged the worldwide group – not the Afghan government – to guard the nation’s democratic, civil and human rights and requested the federal government negotiating staff to “forestall any sort of compromise that undermines the achievements of girls.”

To date, President Ghani has given regular assurances that “primary” rights will probably be protected (see, for instance, here). But he has additionally repeatedly signalled to the Taleban that he’s open to debating constitutional modifications with the Taleban (see AAN reporting right here).

Expectations, criticism and defiance

Not many individuals in Kabul (including AAN) had heard concerning the ejma, till just a week before it began. There had been no reviews or announcements in the Afghan or international media or on relevant websites. The primary public signal that is was to be held was an open letter signed by 600 Afghan ladies and different activists revealed in The Guardian two days before the gathering. In the letter, the signatories voiced their “considerations” a few peace deal being negotiated between the US and the Taleban that would result in the lack of positive factors from their “battles (…) to deliver ladies’s voices and pursuits into Afghanistan’s political, social and cultural establishments.” It was co-signed by three Nobel Peace Prize winners who declared their help – Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi and Tawakkol Karman – in addition to well-known artists and activists, akin to Margaret Atwood, Khalid Hosseini, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Kamila Shamsie, Gloria Steinem and Roger Waters.

Ladies from the provinces who had been part of the preparations complained to AAN, in the course of the ejma or over the telephone, that most of the members had been “handpicked” or immediately invited and that the massive number of invitees from Kabul had crowded out delegates from the provinces. Negina Yari from Maidan Wardak, who was one of the few who was ready to go on report (4), informed AAN that “principally feminine authorities staff participated [in the pre-meetings in her province] and the ladies who have been launched for the working committees of the ejma have been chosen by way of the office of the primary woman and the president’s office.” Yari additionally stated that her organisation, and round 350 different groups, who’re part of their khana-ye solh (home of peace) initiative, had not been consulted concerning the agenda, nor did they get the prospect to contribute concepts for the ejma.

Sozan Behbudzade, a long-standing ladies’s activist in Herat, head of the local Madar (Mother) Social Association and candidate within the 2018 parliamentary elections, advised AAN in her office that she thought the Herat choice was relatively consultant, but (indirectly) admitted that city ladies have been over-represented. Another lady from Herat working in government stated that, to her surprise, lots of those that had initially been chosen to journey to the ejma in Kabul, had not acquired a ticket. An ejma participant from Kunar, and one other who didn’t need her province to be mentioned, informed AAN that the ladies attending the ejma “are the same ladies who all the time attend conferences. There must be different ladies from remote areas and districts. Ladies from distant areas even have the fitting to attend such gatherings.”

Yari remarked that, generally, the Palace does “not allocate enough time for a problem to allow everyone to speak.“ This echoed the experiences AAN had heard from many political and civil society activists who had been invited to the Palace ‘for consultations’ on other issues over past years.

Roshan Tseran, who runs her own NGO – the Afghan Ladies‘s Human Rights Research Centre (AWHRSC), also an AWN member organisation – defended the composition of the gathering in a lengthy interview with AAN in Kabul. She stated, “it was problematic for a lot of rural ladies to return to Kabul for the gathering, as a consequence of safety problems and because their households would not let them journey.” She stated she was “confident that those that attended might also converse for the agricultural ladies, as that they had been extensively consulted beforehand.”

The dominance of educated city ladies in the meeting can also be mirrored by the fact that the primary initiatives in the follow-up to the ejma seemed to pay attention largely on social media campaigns, reminiscent of “#AfghanWomenWillNotGoBack“ and “#MyRedLine.” Though research have found a “rising variety of internet users in rural areas,” (see two from 2017 and 2018 right here  and here), “areas and full provinces (Nuristan, Nimruz, Ghor, Daykundi, and Uruzgan) are nonetheless remoted” and “[r]ural, older, and illiterate Afghans are ignored of conversations occurring online.” (The identical will surely be the case for poor rural ladies.)

Despite the restricted participation and concrete outcomes, there was still hope, even among these members who have been crucial, that the ejma might have a constructive effect. One participant informed AAN:

To be trustworthy, I’m not hopeful with regard to such Jirgas [a reference to the planned ‘consultative’ loya jirga on peace] and ejmas. It’s somewhat organised [top down]extra like a presidential election campaign. You recognize for the presidential election; they need to see the ladies’s presence. Nevertheless, I still assume as a result of ladies have been deprived so much, it can be somewhat useful.

Behbudzada from Herat informed AAN earlier than the gathering: “I would like this ladies ejma to not be a undertaking and a show. I demand it to act in a different way and have achievements for extra ladies’s presence in politics, the peace talks and then in high rating government positions.” One lady from Bamian informed AAN off the report, “I would like ladies to have an lively and numerous presence in peace talks, but I’m not optimistic that the federal government may have us represented within the peace talks.”

Negina Yari said that “all ladies (…) stated they were not ready to lose anything for peace.”

Attainable direct talks and follow-up exercise

Earlier than the ejma, ladies individuals – together with from AWN, but in addition others – had introduced that they might, if wanted, seek their very own access to the Taleban, if the government didn’t give them a big place on the negotiating desk. Afghan ladies have held direct meetings with Taleban representatives earlier: for instance, feminine members of parliament and other ladies talked to them throughout conferences in Oslo in 2016 (see here) and, as AAN heard from them, found it useful to convey their message directly to them.

Just lately, there has been another concrete attempt to take action, when AWN and different civil society teams tried to send a delegation of 40 to the US-Taleban talks in Doha that occurred between 25 February and mid-March 2019 (see an Afghan media report right here). The group finally did not go; it appears for two reasons (though all sides stay comparatively tight-lipped concerning the episode and everyone AAN talked to did so on the condition of strict confidentiality). To start with, there have been difficulties in obtaining visas, as Qatar has no embassy in Afghanistan and the Afghan overseas ministry apparently didn’t facilitate the obtaining of visas elsewhere (this, in turn, may need been pushed by authorities considerations over uncoordinated initiatives and fears that some members may need needed to debate the establishment of an interim government, despite the fact that ejma organiser, appearing minister Hasina Safi, explicitly had condemned such a plan – see here). There was also, apparently, a problem that the members of the potential group had not knowledgeable the negotiating sides of their want to meet them.

Requires separate meetings between ladies and civil society activists and the Taleban have continued because the ejma, including by the AWN’s Wazhma Frogh (see her 12 March tweet right here). Other activists continued deliberations concerning the peace course of in different fora, akin to during a “National Civil Society and Media Conference on Peace Negotiations” held on 2 April 2019 in Kabul and attended each by President Ghani and Chief government Abdullah. Organised by the Salah Peace Consortium that brings collectively five established NGOs engaged on peace constructing, it gathered “400 Afghan women and men (young and previous) from across Afghanistan” and established a Media/Civil Society Advocacy Group (see their 19-point declaration linked in the annex).

On the similar time, the women activists’ publicity offensive has pressured numerous actors, such as the US and the Afghan government, to react to their calls for. US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad was quoted as saying after assembly “Kabul and provincial representatives of the Afghan Ladies’s Community” in Kabul in early April that “whereas Afghans alone would determine the composition of their delegation for talks, ladies have to be on the table throughout all negotiations about peace and Afghanistan’s future.” This was echoed by the UN Secretary-Common’s Special Consultant for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, in a speech when visiting Helmand on 7 April the place he reminded the Afghan authorities of its obligation as a UN member and beneath numerous worldwide human rights treaties. Particularly, he referred to the UN’s Decision 1325 that “has positioned ladies’s meaningful participation at the core of peacebuilding, conflict prevention and restoration.” He emphasised that “many studies present that when ladies are included in peace processes, peace agreements are more likely to be more durable, [… the] UN strongly believes in an inclusive [peace] course of” and that “[w]omen’s rights, and certainly all human rights, must not be traded away in any peace process.” The Afghan government reacted indirectly. The Chief Government’s office rejected a report by the US Particular Inspector Common for Afghanistan Reconstruction that had expressed considerations over ladies’s rights in the peace course of. It stated, “No right can be violated in the peace process and achievements that have been gained in the current years, won’t face problem or annihilation. These achievements and ladies’s rights are necessary to us.”


The women’s peace ejma didn’t turn out to be the two-day, nation-wide session it was initially meant to be. As an alternative, it turned a much more ambivalent gathering. Still, it was a chance for educated and organised ladies to, by means of their illustration, emphasise the significance of girls’s representation in the peace process and peace talks. The primary message – that peace with the Taleban should not be achieved at the price of ladies’s and human rights have been mirrored in all speeches and within the last declaration, however not rather more.

The assembly did not deliver the specified assurances by the president and authorities that there can be significant ladies’s participation within the negotiations. President Ghani didn’t mention this in his speech, nor did the ejma end result doc demand this.

The ejma was not absolutely consultant, given the apparent dominance of urban and educated ladies. City and educated ladies do, in fact, characterize an necessary phase of Afghan ladies and society general. Nevertheless, ladies from rural and distant communities might have very totally different experiences and considerations and as of yet, these have not been expressed in any national consultation. Issues which will have come up in a broader session are the widespread rural poverty and the shortage of (protected) access to providers, notably of girls, as a rights concern. Ladies in rural areas endure disproportionally from conflict-related diminishing access to well being, schooling and other providers (this was underlined once more by a current Afghan government report about multidimensional poverty (see media report right here, and in addition this AAN analysis from 2014 ).

The occasion seemed a missed alternative, given its potential for discussion and debate. Although a well known non-governmental umbrella physique (the Afghan Ladies Network) was among the many organisers, the governmental institutions had set the agenda, handpicked most speakers and individuals, and had dominated the proceedings. The preparations seemed virtually secretive, as was reflected within the negligible media reporting in its run-up, whereas the ejma itself was clearly choreographed and had its time span lowered. This didn’t depart room for spontaneity, and lots of individuals appeared uninspired, having seemingly misplaced the urge for a debate. This made the ejma extra of an occasion than an open discussion board – an end result most likely by design. The government’s worry of dissent, even when solely within the details, was troublesome to overlook.

The highest-down steering of the ejma seems to mirror a broader government fashion of making an attempt to regulate public voices. Consensus had been declared ex ante. There had been no room for dialogue of the place ‘pink strains’ may lie and the place there could possibly be room for compromise in any attainable future talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taleban (or ladies’s representatives and the Taleban). If the ejma had stored to its preliminary two-days format, there would have been area to debate such issues in additional depth and in a wider and extra representative circle, by way of working teams or other smaller formats. On this sense, the ejma offered an indicator of what in all probability may be expected for the rescheduled consultative Loya Jirga on peace when it comes to authorities pre-cooking and massaging the result.

On the similar time, ladies like Roshan Tseran make an necessary point once they ask: “Why ought to it all the time be us ladies to pay the invoice?” Though peace negotiations require compromises, they do not must be one-sided and they don’t want to return on the expense of the rights, security and livelihoods of such a big a part of the population.

Edited by Sari Kouvo and Martine van Bijlert


(1) Initially organisers had stated that 25 ladies had been ‘elected’ in each pre-gathering in every of the nation’s 34 provinces. If there have been certainly 25 ladies per province, the whole quantity ought to have been 850.

(2) The HPC performed a certain position in the negotiations that led to the peace cope with Hezb-e Islami in 2016, although not in the lead (AAN analysis here and here).

(three) The US Institute of Peace (USIP) has revealed figures concerning the current position of girls in Afghan society. These embrace:

 As of 2019:

  • Hundreds of thousands of girls have voted in native and national elections. Of parliament’s 320 members, 63 are ladies, whereas ladies maintain 18 seats as ministers or deputy ministers and 4 function ambassadors.
  • Faculties and universities make use of more than 68,000 ladies instructors together with 800 college professors in each personal and public establishments.
  • Greater than 6,000 ladies serve as judges, prosecutors, defence attorneys, police and military personnel.
  • Authorities knowledge counts about 10,000 ladies among the country’s docs, nurses and health professionals.
  • Female journalists no 1,070, working all through Afghanistan.
  • Some 1,150 ladies entrepreneurs have invested $77 million of their companies, providing job alternatives for 77,000 Afghan men and women.

(4) It also brings to mind what a leading civil society activist informed AAN earlier this yr – that s/he and colleagues had acquired warnings over the telephone from the NDS and the NSC to chorus from publicly criticising the federal government.


Annex: hyperlinks to ejma-related paperwork

  • Dari version of the ejma’s ultimate declaration:


  • Afghan Ladies Six Point Agenda for Moscow Peace Talks (four February 2019; the meeting was officially referred to as “intra-Afghan dialogue not ‘peace talks’)


  • AWN statement on Doha peace talks (not dated; Feb. 2019)


  • President Ghani’s speech at the ejma:

https://president.gov.af/fa/1/3/2/19 (no English model obtainable)

  • 19-Point Joint Declaration of Afghan Civil Society and Media on the Afghan Peace Negotiations

20190402 ultimate decl Nat CivSoc and Media Convention on Peace Negotiations