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Women seek increased role in peace talks

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) has nudged the National Unity Government (NUG) on Sunday to ensure women had presence in the peace talks.

Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Saeeda Muzhgan Mustafawi, said that real peace would not come to the country, unless women had increased participation in the reconciliation process.

Speaking at a three-day conference regarding women’s empowerment, she said the NUG leaders should fulfill their promises and include women in the peace talks. “Women make up half of the population. Thus, they must have the opportunity to participate in the reconciliation process,” she said.

Regarding number of women in the governmental institutions, the deputy minister said that currently women had 23 percent presence. She claimed that efforts are underway to increase women’s presence by 30 percent in governmental organizations.

Criticizing the Ministry of Interior, she said that presence of women is not encouraging in the law enforcement agencies. She said the interior ministry planned to recruit 5,000 women, but failed. However, the deputy minister acknowledged that insecurity and taboos were not allowing women and girls to join the country’s security forces.

Chief of the Women’s Affairs Committee of the Wolesi Jirga, Fawzia Kofi, said that women are the worst victims of the conflict as they lose their husband, father, brother and son. “Therefore, they must be involved in the peace talks. Symbolic role shall not be given to women. Their views must be respected,” she stressed.

Presidential Security Council Advisor, Sulaiman Kakar, said that the government is committed to empower women and increase their presence in the state-run organizations.

He said that there is need for a clear strategy to empower women.

The Taliban leaders recently in informal talks in Qatar said that they are not against the women’s rights. Shift the in the militant group’s stance has been welcomed, but optimism still to gain ground.

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