Incremental Peace in Afghanistan
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How can Afghan women achieve positive results from peace talks with the Taliban?
Women were largely excluded from the Bonn process. Since then, they have made significant gains in rights and political participation. But despite Afghanistan adopting in 2015 a National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, opportunities for women remain limited. And women’s rights defenders are wary that negotiations with the Taliban will lead to further losses, given the movement’s record and reputation.
But women already make key contributions to local peace initiatives, and the possibility now exists to engage proactively to affect the course of a national peace process. Afghan women encompass a spectrum of interests. Many from rural communities see ending violence as the priority over the sorts of rights that are their urban counterparts’ prime concern.
Reaching out to different female and male constituencies is key to building broad support for women’s issues. Constructive progress will require acknowledging signs of change among the Taliban and engaging in dialogue with them to explore potential areas of mutual interest and accommodation.