The Current

'We don't want to simply sacrifice it:' Afghan women worry Taliban peace deal could set back women's rights

Some women in Afghanistan are expressing concern that a peace deal underway between the U.S. and the Taliban could pose a setback to some of the advances that have been made for women's rights in the country.

American, Taliban officials are in process of negotiating peace deal

Despite having come a long way since the reign of the Taliban forced Afghan women indoors and out of schools, some people fear a peace deal between the U.S. and the Taliban could be harmful for women's rights. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
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Some women in Afghanistan are expressing concern that a peace deal underway between the U.S. and the Taliban could pose a setback to some of the advances that have been made for women's rights in the country.

"While this story of violence against women, discrimination against women, forced marriages and challenges like those exist in the country, there are also stories of resistance," said Orzola Nemat, director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, an independent research institute based in Kabul.

She told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti that women are taking leadership roles in their communities, acting as peacemakers, empowering and educating themselves, and trying to mobilize other women.

Orzala Nemat is the director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, an independent research institute based in Kabul. (Submitted by Orzala Nemat)

"Every time I see young and dedicated women taking the risk literally for their life … I think we cannot simply victimize the women of Afghanistan any more," Nemat said.

Last week, American and Taliban officials agreed in principle to a framework for a peace deal with the insurgents.

Under the deal, the Taliban would agree not to use Afghan territory as a "platform for international terrorist groups or individuals," according to the New York Times.

Nemat said some people worry if the deal will return Afghanistan the same horrors they previously experienced under Taliban rule.

"These values that we've fought for … for years, we don't want to simply sacrifice it," she said.

To learn more about the situation in Afghanistan, and why women are concerned, Tremonti spoke to:

  • Orzala Nemat, director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, an independent research institute based in Kabul.
  • Habiba Sarabi, Afghanistan's first female governor, the deputy chair to the Afghanistan High Peace Council, and senior advisor on women to the chief executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.


With files from CBC News. Produced by Samira Mohyeddin.

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