Afghanistan’s peace talks are ongoing, yet we barely hear of any women present at the table when talks take place. The rhetoric of emancipation of Afghan women has been one of the most cited reasons in the Western media behind the US war in Afghanistan. Yet now that the peace talks are underway, they are systematically excluded from one of the most important decisions in the history of their country. Unless the government of Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the international community take serious steps toward including women, it will be a total disaster and any agreement that is reached will be neither inclusive nor acceptable, durable, or peaceful.
Since 2005, Afghan women have been present only twice in the previous rounds of Afghanistan-Taliban peace talks. In the roadmap for peace introduced by Afghan president Ashraf Ghani at the end of 2018, there are only two women on the 12-member negotiating team, in spite of his previous emphasis on the role of Afghan women in peace negotiations. More shocking is the fact that there haven’t been any Afghan women in talks between the Taliban and the international community. The presence of women is not only important for fairness and inclusivity but also crucial for the durability of any negotiated peace. According to the International Peace Institute, the inclusion of women in peace processes has a great impact on their durability.