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Afghan women activists meet Taliban in Oslo

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KABUL: Afghan women activists in a meeting with the Taliban delegation on Sunday in Norway urged the Taliban to allow all girls to go to school and include women in government.

The closed-door meeting was attended by six women’s rights defenders, seven politicians and a journalist as well as the 15-member delegation of Taliban.

The women representatives who attended the summit included Mahbooba Saraj, Huda Khamosh, Gul Ghotai Jasor, Masouda Karokhel, Shah Gul Rezai and Jamila Afghan.  

During her speech at the meeting, Huda Khamosh called on the Taliban to release the women protesters who were allegedly detained by the current Afghan government.  

She presented the participants with a proposal formed by the Afghan civil society community and women’s rights activists. 

Khamosh urged the UN to monitor the human rights situation in Afghanistan. 

The proposal of the women’s representatives in Oslo are as follows:  

“Formation of an independent council by the UN to monitor the human rights status in Afghanistan. Formation of a roadmap for resolving the political issues via the people. Respecting the rights of citizens, particularly the right to work, to receive an education, and to enjoy freedom of speech

“Some important matters including human rights, women’s rights and problems that exist in the private sector were discussed,” said Nazifa Jalali, a women’s rights defender.  

The US special envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West tweeted from Oslo, saying he welcomed Norway’s taking the initiative to hold a meeting between the Taliban delegation and the Afghan civil society leaders.   

“Welcome our hosts’ initiative to bring Afghan civil society and Taliban together for dialogue. Civil society leaders are the backbone of healthy and prosperous economies and societies,” he said. 

The women’s rights and human rights defenders praised the Oslo conference and called to convene face-to-face meetings between the Taliban and civil society members inside the country. 

“These meetings should be meaningful and with a clear aim. The participation of all political and social parties and those who suffered when the Taliban came to power should be emphasized,” said Fawzia Koofi, leader of Hezb-e-Mawj Tahawol.   

The Afghan women’s rights defenders hoped the Oslo summit would be effective in ensuring women’s rights.  

“This is a positive step as the representatives of women are invited to the summit while women are sidelined in Afghanistan,” said Monisa, a women’s rights activist.  

The Sunday summit of Oslo between the Taliban delegation and the civil community’s representatives came days after two female protestors went missing in Kabul.

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