As Afghanistan emerges from 15 years of brutal war, not to mention years spent under the unforgiving rule of the Taliban, many women in the country are clamoring to be a part of the peace process there. According to human rights groups, Afghan women have been shut out of the last 20 rounds of official peace negotiations. Women took part in some unofficial peace talks last May with Taliban representatives, who indicated the extremist group might be willing to soften its notoriously antiquated view of women, but women are fighting for a real seat at the table in upcoming talks. Suhaila Sahar, the director for a national network of vocational training centers for women, told The Associated Press, “Afghan women do not want a peace that again restricts women’s access to school or work outside the home,” as was the case throughout the nation under years of Taliban rule prior to September 11, 2001. “Women are half the population of the country and must not be ignored. This lack of a role in the peace talks is extremely frustrating for me,” Sahar said. Even though the Taliban has been widely marginalized, the group still has a stranglehold on pockets of the country where strict observance of Islamic law is the rule. Several shocking crimes over the last year have underscored that grim truth and caused global outrage. Just last week, in another revolting incident, a 25-year-old man allegedly used a knife to cut off the nose off the face of his 20-year-old wife after she expressed disagreement with his desire to take a second wife — a 6- or 7-year-old girl who is his uncle’s niece.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.