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Peace bid will fail sans women’s inclusion

AT-KABUL: More than 75 women members of Provincial PeaceCouncils (PPCs) met in Kabul on Wednesday to plot a strategy to advocate forthe interests of women in the peace process.

Over 120 Promote Musharikat “Women in Peace” Coalition activists and influential religious leaders joined the conversation to review how women will be linked and consulted in the process, to assess PPC members’ negotiation and collaboration skills, and to plan how to most effectively advocate for women’s interests.

After a two-day working session, the participants presented their national campaign plan to senior stakeholders at the Government Media and Information Center (GMIC).

Several women members of the PPCs shared personal stories of the restrictions on their lives under Taliban rule, and how the current security situation directly impacts the health and happiness of their families. Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah emphasized that he fully supported the efforts of the participants and noted, “We need peace with dignity for both sides.” U.S. Ambassador John Bass noted, “The United States strongly supports a future Afghanistan in which all of its citizens have an opportunity to live in the peace and dignity with rights. The contributions that women will make towards achieving an end to the conflict are critical to the success and sustainability of this effort. And so, it’s vitally important that the interests of women are fully represented in this process.”

The participants of the two-day work session focused on the challenges they face in their communities including improving respect for women’s rights and creating space for women in local leadership. Despite the challenges, Deputy Chairperson to the High Peace Council Dr. Habiba Sarabi assured the participants that the High Peace Council and Promote Musharikat will support them in their advocacy work. She highlighted the vision and four objectives (see attachment) coming out of the two days and noted, “The Musharikat Women in Peace Process Coalition is a positive step towards women being heard”.

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