HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): A number of women in western Herat province on Tuesday demanded lasting peace in the country and called for their participation in the peace negotiations and elections.
They said the Afghan women had rendered sacrifices over the last two decades for many things such as democracy, their rights, social participation, cultural, economic, political life and thus their role in the peace negotiations should not be diminished.
Women rights activists in Herat city, the provincial capital, say achievements in the past years were not easily attained and ignoring the vital participation of Afghan women in various fields and their role in peace talks meant ignoring the over half of the country’s population.
Faiza Alizadah, a university student in Herat, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Afghan women would never give permission to anyone to cut deal on their fate and make decision on their rights behind closed doors.
She said, “We want a just and lasting peace process and we support the peace negotiations but will never allow anyone to decide on our rights, it would never be acceptable to us.”
Active participation of women in the upcoming presidential elections meant that they should be allowed to vote for candidate of their choice without being forced or pressured, something possible in a secure environment, said Alizadah, referring to women’s participation in the next presidential poll.
Hanifa Ahmadi, another resident of the provincial capital, told Pajhwok that they would never allow anyone to compromise their achievements, participation and their rights.“We want a meaningful and decisive role in the peace process,” she added.
Rahila Ratib, another women’s right activist, said: “For talks with Taliban militants, we don’t red lines, however observance of their rights, political and civil rights, acceptance of the constitution and keeping achievements of the last 17 years of the country are our red lines.”
She emphasized that the achievements of their past 17 years should not be compromised and the Taliban must be flexible in their respect for women’s rights.
She said women should actively participate in future elections and should be made aware of their political rights.
Meanwhile, Monsa Hassan Zadah, deputy governor for social affairs, said they had experienced a bitter life during the Taliban regime and they did not want to see their government return.
She said it was a clear fact that the Taliban imposed strict restrictions on women during their government, so the Afghan women’s approach to the peace negotiations was critical.
A number of other women held similar views and called for intra-Afghan dialogue as soon as possible.

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