President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said the consensus which has emerged around peace in Afghanistan is unprecedented and that his administration still believes in achieving a “dignified” peace with the opponents.
“Lasting peace is the aspiration of a majority of the people of Afghanistan. Peace is a national process, but not ethnic, political or racial. Peace belongs to all Afghans. Peace will not be sustainable if a layer of the Afghans remains away from the process,” said Ghani, who addressed a gathering on International Women’s day at the Presidential Palace.
Ghani said the National Unity Government has implemented a large number of programs aimed at fostering the participation of women in the society.
“Today, the Afghan women are making part of the discussions on key national issues. The National Unity Government is proud of providing the opportunity to women to play an active role in these issues,” said Ghani.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also defended the Afghan government’s commitments towards strengthening the presence of women in the society and said that the National Unity Government has undertaken systematic programs aimed at supporting women of the country.
“We and the National Unity Government consider ourselves responsible towards implementing the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan and the demands of women of the country within the framework of the law,” said Abdullah.
Ghani also highlighted the plights of Afghan women, saying the women in the country are still faced with poverty.
“The Afghan women will still remain deprived unless we focus on the poverty facing the Afghan women and include poverty alleviation in our key national objectives,” said Ghani.
Minister of Women’s Affairs Dilbar Nazari also spoke on the occasion and said the rights of Afghan women should be protected in the peace process with the armed opponents.
“The women constitute half of the committed segment of the society. Their concerns need to be addressed and their representatives should have a dynamic role in the peace process,” said Nazari.
The government leaders said that despite shortcomings, some “systematic” activities have been done under the National Unity Government towards increasing the presence of women in government institutions, providing them with educational opportunities and increasing their numbers in the ranks of the Afghan security forces.
This comes at a time that US Special Representative on Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is holding backdoor talks with the Taliban officials in Doha, Qatar, in an attempt to facilitate direct talks between the Afghan government and the resurgent group aimed at ending the US’s longest war.