Afghan women’s voices must be heard in US-Taliban peace talks

Letter from more than 600 Afghan women and youths, supported by civil society organisations and public figures including Arundhati Roy, Margaret Atwood and Gloria Steinem as part of the Time4RealPeace campaign

HAH Report

Afghan women at a gathering in Kabul on 14 February, at which they called for the US, the Afghan government and the Taliban not to marginalise Afghan women from the peace process.

Over the last 17 years, we have fought to bring women’s voices and interests into Afghanistan’s political, social and cultural institutions, against a backdrop of ongoing violence. We are civilians, teachers, doctors, activists, students and artists who have collectively and individually created space to advocate both for ourselves and for peace in our country. Many of our leaders have paid with their lives for this progress. We have built on the sacrifices of Malalai Kakar, Hanifa Safi, Najia Sediqi, Safia Amajan, Farkhunda Malikzada and Islam Bibi, and we stand on the shoulders of all the other women who have given their lives in the struggle for the same progress. We, the women of Afghanistan, will not go backwards.

The gains made from these hard-won battles are now being threatened by a deal that excludes our interests and voices and ignores the representation we have fought for. It is at this critical moment for the future of our young people, our women and our democracy that we ask for global solidarity, so we can continue to build on our victories.

We write this letter in order to voice our concerns about the current peace deal being negotiated between the United States government and the Afghan Taliban. These negotiations do not include the voices of Afghan women, they do not include the voices of our country’s youth, they do not include the voices of civil society nor the democratic structures, government and institutions.

When the coalition arrived in Afghanistan in 2001, it was on the back of promises made to Afghan women and future generations. We have been fighting for our rights and representation ever since. We welcome all steps to bring peace to our country, but history has taught us the bloody lesson that you cannot have peace without inclusion.

As we prepare to defend our rights once more, we ask that this peace process reaffirms and protects our constitutional rights, interests and democracy.

Hafiza, Wahideh, Hanifa, Roma, Shofuga, Sheela, Sheewa, Fahima, Setara, Shahllah, Zainab, Amena, Samaa, Subira, Khadija, Mariam, Aziza, Aynaz, Zarifa, Khadija, Jamin, Joya, Rahima, Roya, Saleem, Rohina, Nadia, Rohina, Baigum, Saleha, Sabera, Aqela, Shabnam, Anusha, Mursal, Hassanat, Sameen, Malahat, Atefa, Farangaiz, Rahima, Naseeba, Shekaiba, Shakila, Khadija, Monika, Khalida, Yalda, Aria, Farkhunda and more than 600 other Afghan women and youth– see

Supported by the following Afghan organisations: Women for Peace and Participation, Baghlan Youth Committee, Afghanistan Community Foundation, Independent Cooperation for Change, New Line Social Organization, Hayat Balkh Institute of Health Science, Paikn TV, Youth and Children Development Program, The Notion Generation Leaders, Radio Nehad Network, Khabar Journalism Center

Co-signed in international solidarity by:
Hanan Al-Shaykh Writer
Christine Ahn Activist
Margaret Atwood Writer
Asieh Amini Poet
Christine Chinkin Academic
Shirin Ebadi Nobel laureate/rights activist
Scilla Elworthy Peacebuilder
Eve Ensler Playwright
Neil Gaiman Writer
Jodi Ginsberg Index on Censorship 
Leymah Gbowee Nobel laureate/activist
Global Witness
Khalid Hosseini Writer
Mary Kaldor Academic
Tawakkol Karman Nobel laureate/rights activist 
Helena Kennedy QC Barrister
Wardah Khalid Activist
Deeya Khan Documentary film-maker
Paul Laverty Screenwriter
Ken Loach Director
Mairead Maguire Nobel laureate/rights activist
Rebecca O’Brien Film producer
Susie Orbach Psychotherapist
Margie Orford Writer
Caroline Criado Perez Activist/journalist
Arundhati Roy Writer/activist 
Joan Ruddock Politician
Kamila Shamsie Writer
Elif Shafak Writer/activist
Gillian Slovo Activist/writer
Gloria Steinem Writer/feminist
Madeleine Thien Writer
Jess Tomlin Activist/organizer
Salil Tripathi Writer/journalist
Roger Waters Musician
Cora Weiss Peace activist
Jody Williams Nobel laureate/activist
Women cross DMZ Peace organisation

This report was first published in The Guardian, UK, Feb 26, 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Us