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

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 , 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 . 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.

Source : theguardian[dot]com