Women in Afghanistan fear for a return to oppression as they are left out of peace talks with Taliban


She went on: “This is something we are really serious about. We are not going back. This is 51 per cent of the population.”

Her concerns are echoed by Humaira Rasuli, founder of Women for Justice, which provides legal support to Afghan women. When dozens of Afghan opposition politicians and Taliban envoys met for talks in a Moscow hotel earlier this month only two women were there.

“When it comes to women’s rights, Afghan women really do not know what will be the situation after peace with the Taliban. There’s no representation of women and the politicians there are more interested in their share of power after peace,” she said. 

Across town, the man who once oversaw the Taliban’s notorious religious enforcers claims the movement has changed.

Qalamuddin Mohmand was deputy minister at the Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, but after being locked in Bagram US military prison when the Taliban regime fell, he now heads a conservative religious party.

He was present in Moscow when the Taliban spelled out their stance on some of the most contentious issues for negotiations, including the constitution and women’s rights.

In a statement the militant movement said it was committed to guaranteeing women their rights under Islam. Islam grants women rights in areas including “business and ownership, inheritance, education, work, choosing one’s husband, security, health, and the right to a good life”, the declaration said. But it also criticised “so-called women’s rights activists” and insisted protections could not threaten “Afghan values”.


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