JALALABAD – Listeners to a series of radio programmes in the country’s east, responded by making a strong case for women’s participation and inclusion in the Afghan Peace Negotiations.
Across Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan provinces listeners responded on social media to the UNAMA-backed shows, arguing that peace negotiations that exclude women and ignore their voices are likely to fail.
“If there are no women in peace negotiations, the results will not be fruitful,” said university lecturer, Fahim Rahimi. “Women’s involvement in peace deals is crucial, and practical efforts must be made to include them in the Afghan Peace Negotiations.”
Ashuq Dewan, a regular listener of Safa Radio, said the participation of women in peace talks is both logical and necessary. “Women are half of our society,” commented Dewan on Safa Radio’s Facebook page. “So, it makes sense to give women a place in the peace process.”
Many social media users made similar comments, while others posed questions to expert panelists on a range of issues including what efforts are being made to engage both the government and the Taliban on why women must be included in the ongoing negotiations in Qatar.
Panelist and lawyer, Zala Azimi, said Afghanistan and the international community have in the last two decades invested in women through education, skills development and other support. She argued that while thousands of Afghan women are making significant contributions to their communities and the nation, there have not been acknowledged as valuable peacebuilders and negotiators.
“Women must be given a chance to participate in peace talks because they bring skills and experience as peacebuilders and negotiators.”
Panellists also drew examples from other countries, making the case that where women have fully participated in peace discussions and negotiations, the final agreements have been sustainable.
Globally, women’s participation and inclusion in peace and security remain a challenge.
The UN Security Council adopted resolution 1325 on women and peace and security two decades ago. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
Organized by UNAMA’s field office in Jalalabad, the radio features reached hundreds of thousand listeners on Sharq and Safa radios in Jalalabad city, Spinghar radio in Rodat district of Nangarhar, Zala radio in Kunar, Raghun radio in Laghman and Alina radio in Nuristan.