Peace In Afghanistan At What Cost To Its Women? Afghanistan is moving toward peace talks with the Taliban that experts say are necessary to end the country's insurgency. But living under the harsh rule of the Taliban is a bitter memory for many Afghan women -- and a daily reality for others who live in places where the militants have control.
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Peace In Afghanistan At What Cost To Its Women?

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Peace In Afghanistan At What Cost To Its Women?

Peace In Afghanistan At What Cost To Its Women?

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

But what would a deal with the Taliban look like for women in Afghanistan? NPR's Quil Lawrence reports from Kabul that negotiations are not looking so good to everyone.

QUIL LAWRENCE: Unidentified Woman: (Speaking foreign language)

LAWRENCE: Unidentified Woman: (Speaking foreign language)

LAWRENCE: She added that for security, she wears a burqa, a head to toe garment. She wears a different color each day and never goes the same route to and from work. The woman said she's interested in peace coming to Afghanistan but isn't sure that a deal with the Taliban would mean real peace for her.

RACHEL REID: When the Taliban get control of an area, that's also what matters. And what we see there are the kinds of abuses that we saw in the Taliban times.

LAWRENCE: But it's not those Taliban who will be sitting at the negotiating table, says Reid. She says some in the international community are trying to forget how brutal the Taliban movement is toward women because they're so impatient to reach a peace deal that will allow their troops to come home.

REID: I think there's a danger in this kind of revisionism about the nature of the movement that needs to be checked. Because if there's not more honesty about the nature of what we're dealing with, then there won't be a suitable deal carved out. And these kinds of issues won't be on the table in the negotiating time.

LAWRENCE: Fawzia Kufi is a member of the Afghan parliament. She says a deal with the Taliban movement would be a disaster and defeat the purpose of coming to Afghanistan in the first place.

FAWZIA KUFI: It means not only for me but for the women of Afghanistan, hundreds of steps backward. Because I assume one of the reasons for international community to be in Afghanistan is the issue of women's rights, civil society, human rights. And I guess this is one of the reasons your taxpayers fund this war.

LAWRENCE: Kufi says that the hard-core Taliban who would be at the table are also responsible for instability in the region, and she believes they will not change their past behavior. Still, presidential spokesman Waheed Omar said today that the government is pushing ahead according to plan.

WAHEED OMAR: Peaceful dialogue with all those who are ready to give up violence, to accept the constitution of Afghanistan, and who are ready to pursue their political ambitions through peaceful means - and those were not connected to international terrorists, that the Afghan people should've started negotiating with them.

LAWRENCE: Afghan women are starting to notice that there is no stipulation in there about preserving women's rights. And Fawzia Kufi says their concerns will always be the first thing bargained away.

KUFI: And it's always easy to forget women, because they don't have weapons, they don't have, you know, they can't fight. That's an easy compromise.

LAWRENCE: Quil Lawrence, NPR News, Kabul.

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