The Oslo talks between Western officials and a Taliban delegation should be urgently followed by concrete action that would help alleviate the plight of Afghan women, girls, boys, and men, said Jamila Afghani of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) today 25 January 2022.
“The only way forward is one that includes immediate steps to address the urgent rights and needs of all Afghans, while exploring long-term solutions for the crisis in Afghanistan that puts an end to militarisation and guarantees the rights of women and minority groups, and that includes accountability for all violations,” said Afghani, President of WILPF’s Afghanistan Section, speaking from Oslo.
Violence begets more violence. WILPF calls for an end to militarisation in all its forms.
Since the Taliban took power in August, Afghanistan has been experiencing an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis, as well as growing human rights violations and violence targeting women, minorities, and prominent individuals such as activists and former government officials.
Afghani, who was one of the representatives of civil society selected to participate in the Oslo talks with the Taliban on 23-25 January, urged the representatives of the international community to allow international aid to be handled directly by Afghan NGOs. She reminded the international community that civil society, especially women’s rights and women-led organisations, were best-placed and best equipped to advise and support humanitarian missions and negotiations, as well as other processes.
“Afghan women activists must continue to initiate and lead the way. The presence of women at the negotiating table with the Taliban in Oslo should translate into a comprehensive feminist approach to the crisis in Afghanistan, as seen by Afghan women themselves,” Afghani said.
The Oslo talks have been deeply divisive in Afghanistan and abroad, with some supporting engagement with the Taliban and others totally opposed to modes of contact with them that could be seen as legitimisation or a recognition of their power.
“I understand the pain and anger of Afghans who oppose the talks,” said Afghani. “These talks are in no way an attempt to recognise the defacto Taliban authorities. There remains a need for justice and accountability for all crime. I join the talks with the purpose of bringing the urgent needs of our people to the table.”
The full details of the talks in Oslo are yet to be made public, including whether any official agreement has been made and whether any immediate steps will be taken.
WILPF believes that progress towards peace in Afghanistan must include a feminist process where Afghan women lead the way, and the implementation of all human rights commitments are guaranteed.