New York (Reuters): Academy Award-winning actress and refugee activist Angelina Jolie pushed for the inclusion of women in peace talks to end the conflict in Afghanistan during an address to ministers and diplomats at the United Nations on Friday.
Peace talks between US and Taliban officials began late last year. However, some women fear the freedoms eked out since US-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001 could slide backwards, and complain their voices are being sidelined.
“In Afghanistan thousands of women have recently come together in public risking their lives to ask that their rights and the rights of their children be guaranteed in peace negotiations that so far they have been allow no part of,” Jolie told a ministerial meeting on UN peacekeeping.
“The international community’s silent response is alarming to say the least,” said Jolie, a special envoy for the UN refugee agency UNHCR, which she began working with 18 years ago. “There can be no peace or stability in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world that involves trading away the rights of women.”
While the Taliban has said in official statements they might consider more liberal policies toward women, their chief negotiator has said the constitution, which protects women’s rights, is an obstacle to peace, said the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on Thursday.