Speakers at the Afghan Women Religious Rights Forum

Ambassador Swanee Hunt

Ambassador Swanee Hunt stressed the need to ensure women’s rights in Afghanistan while the movement still has momentum and to include women in the peace talks to increase the longevity of peace. If women are involved in peace negotiations, longevity of peace is more likely, specifically, 70% more likely for peace to last. Without women’s involvement, the chance of achieving peace is only 25%.

Palwasha Kakar

Palwasha Kakar (United States Institute of Peace) stated that women’s rights are part of religious freedom which is upheld in the Quran and in Islam. The purpose of division is to force communities into disagreements which only demonstrates ineffective peace building. It is imperative that religious actors and communities unite to have a common understanding on how to properly build long term peace.

Palwasha Hassan

Palwasha Hassan (Afghan Women’s Network)After the seventh round of peace talks between the U.S. and Taliban, the question remains, how can women’s rights be protected during negotiations and how do you get international support? Although Afghan women’s rights remain a disputed topic, they have gradually found their way to the peace table. Shariah is the fundamental sources used in Afghanistan and must be utilized for gender justice.

Jamila Afghani

Jamila Afghani (Noor Educational and Capacity Development) stated in her speech, “Although the political agenda for the Taliban remains the same, which is influenced by their narrow interpretation of Islamic Law, they have one thing in common with women advocates- they both want peace. Thus, a key strategy for achieving sustainable peace will require changing Taliban’s mindset and finding alternatives to promoting meaningful participation of women.

Belquis Ahmadi

Belquis Ahmadi (U.S Institute of Peace)The Taliban needs to implement the change on the ground, instead of simply claiming that they have changed. While the Taliban seems to have shifted its attitude, the narrative that women are incapable needs to end. The only way to execute change is for the Taliban to sit down and experience first-hand the level of competency that women can exhibit.

Daisy Khan

Daisy Khan (Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality & Equality) “The overall objective for change must be rooted in reaching diverse groups of Afghan women leaders and promoting their inclusion in Taliban talks. The fragmentation among groups can be addressed by creating a compact that recognizes the over-arching goals of all women. The knowledge gap on women’s rights under Islamic Jurisprudence must be addressed rapidly by training women advocates so their demands during negotiations are clear, realistic and are resonant with Taliban’s understanding of Islamic law.