Former Ambassador Melanne Verveer is Calling for Women’s Inclusion in Afghan Peace Talks

“No one has suffered more at the hands of the Taliban than the women of Afghanistan,” Melanne Verveer—executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and a former U.S. ambassador for Global Women’s Issues—explains in a new op-ed in USA Today.

( Pakistan Delegation 2014 / Creative Commons)

That declaration is at the crux of Verveer’s argument, published in the midst of so-called “peace talks” between the U.S. government and the militant group, that “lasting peace is impossible” without women’s voices:

News of negotiations between the United States and the Taliban and the prospect of impending intra-Afghan talks have given hope to the Afghan people that years of war and unspeakable suffering may finally be coming to an end. Americans, too, are war-weary and want to see an end to what has become America’s longest war.

The talks with the Taliban, and the decision by the Trump administration to maintain a presence of just 8,600 troops, however, have also sparked enormous fear among Afghans—especially among Afghan women.

Although arguably the strongest advocates for peace, they worry that an agreement reached with the Taliban—without women’s participation in the negotiations—could put their hard-won gains on the chopping block. After all, it was the Taliban, who during their regime, imposed rules on Afghan women and girls based on their misguided extremist interpretations of Islam that deprived them of their rights—including the right to go to school and to work—and justified violence against them. 

Click here to read Verveer’s full essay, in which she breaks down four powerful reasons women must be part of any peace process in Afghanistan.

About

Carmen Rios is a feminist media-maker and movement-builder. She's currently a Consulting Editor at Ms. and the host of Bitch Media's Popaganda podcast, and was previously the Managing Digital Editor at Ms. and the Feminism Editor, Community Director and Social Media Co-Director at Autostraddle. Her work has also been published by outlets like the Atlantic's CityLab, BuzzFeed, ElixHER, Feministing, Girlboss, Mic, MEL and Everyday Feminism; and she is additionally a co-founder of Webby-nominated Argot Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @carmenriosss.