Three woman activists refuse to attend Doha meeting

DOHA, Qatar — Three prominent representatives of women’s rights and civil society in Afghanistan have declined to participate in the third round of the Doha meeting, citing the exclusion of women’s rights from the main agenda.

Habiba Sarabi, a member of the former government’s negotiating team; Nabila Musleh, former deputy minister of women’s affairs; and Zubaida Akbar, a human rights activist, announced they would not attend the meeting. They argued that the presence of women at the event is not meaningful and that human rights issues, particularly women’s rights, are not prioritized.

Five individuals representing women and civil society were invited to the Doha meeting. However, they have not been included in the primary discussions scheduled for the first two days. Instead, their meeting with the UN Under-Secretary-General and some special representatives of various countries will occur on the third day of the event.

This sidelining of civil society representatives has provoked strong reactions from women’s advocates. Sarabi criticized the decision, stating, “The meeting with civil society representatives has been moved to a sideline session, which contradicts the principle of full and meaningful participation of women in this process.”

Akbar echoed this sentiment, expressing her frustration: “I will not be attending the meeting because Afghan women deserve to be at the main meeting table in Doha, shaping the agenda and prioritizing women’s rights.”

Some women’s rights activists argue that the engagement of international envoys with the Taliban amounts to appeasement, disregarding women’s rights. They have called for a boycott of the Doha meeting, asserting that those who do attend cannot represent all Afghan women.

“The meeting with the Taliban is boycotted and incomplete for protesting women because we have no demands from terrorists, and it is clear to us that the Taliban are not flexible,” said one protestor.

The list of women representatives at the Doha meeting has not been made public. According to the plan, the UN Under-Secretary-General and special envoys from various countries will meet with representatives of women and civil society on the sidelines of the event.