Women’s rights groups urge focus on inclusion at Doha Afghanistan meeting

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In an open letter to the Doha meeting participants on Afghanistan, the Women’s Movement Towards Freedom, representing 60 organizations advocating for women’s rights, urged a focus on national dialogues for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.

The letter calls for recognizing gender apartheid, withholding any attempt for recognition of the Taliban, ensuring internal legitimacy, and appointing a United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan with a strong background in human rights and civil society.

The movement expressed concerns over the lack of transparency in the Doha meeting process, stating, “The Taliban has taken 40 million people in Afghanistan hostage, turned the country into a cemetery, and increased poverty and hunger. Fundamental rights of women are being violated, and the Taliban are humiliating, torturing, and killing critics.”

The letter criticizes the Doha agreement, suggesting it benefits only the Taliban and poses risks to global security, including increased terrorism and extremism. It warns against the Taliban’s strategy of opening schools in Afghan villages, suggesting that concessions to allow girls to attend Haqqani schools would lead to indoctrination with extremist values.

“Our international community friends should emphasize the need for quality education in line with the 21st century, rather than agreeing to concessions for the Taliban,” the letter states. “Such moves only increase the risk of suicide attacks, as Afghan women and girls would be indoctrinated with extremist values.”

The special representatives’ meeting for Afghanistan, set for Feb. 18-19 in Doha, is expected to discuss the appointment of a UN special envoy and the foundation for Afghan interaction with the international community.