Women, Peace, and Security Caucus Urges Secretary Blinken to Promote Inclusion of Afghan Women in Peace Negotiations
Washington, April 13, 2021
Washington, DC - Today, Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Caucus Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-21) and Michael Waltz (FL-06) led 13 members of the WPS Caucus in a letter to Secretary Blinken to encourage the State Department to work closely with, and promote the inclusion of, Afghan women leaders and organizations in all future efforts to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to Afghanistan.
The letter states in part, “We are concerned about the impact of a possible power sharing agreement between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. Although such proposals include directives to provide special consideration for, and inclusion of, women in government positions, that does not guarantee their representation. Any new government structure should ensure women have meaningful representation to help safeguard their rights.”
The letter continues, “In last month’s Extended Troika in Moscow, women were woefully underrepresented. Therefore, should additional peace talks come to fruition in Istanbul, Turkey, we urge you to ensure increased women’s participation and to amplify women’s voices both at the formal negotiating table, and in informal civil society-driven events, discussions, and processes. Afghan women leaders and civil society organizations have been meeting and mobilizing for years to gather input from women on what is needed to build peace in their communities and across the country. This vital information must be taken into account and should not be overlooked.”
On April 1, the WPS Caucus held an event with Fatima Gailani, Fawzia Koofi, Habiba Sarabi, and Sharifa Zurmati, the four women negotiators on the Afghan government’s Peace Negotiation Team. The negotiators voiced concern about full U.S. troop withdrawal without an Afghan government-supported settlement and reiterated that no outcome would be sustainable without protecting the gains made by Afghan women and girls.
A new round of peace talks is expected to begin in Istanbul, Turkey this month.
Full text of the letter can be found here.