Feminism, Peace, and Afghanistan


Samar, Sima. 2019. "Feminism, Peace, and Afghanistan." Journal of International Affairs 72 (2): 145-58.

Author: Sima Samar


The conflict in Afghanistan, which has spanned 41 years, presents many complex issues with which policymakers must grapple. The human rights situation of Afghan women is prominent among these realities. The overt politicization of Afghan women, their rights, and their role within society can be traced back to 1978 when a coup d’état resulted in the fall of Daud Khan’s government, and commenced the bloody militarization of communist factions and mujahedeen. The subsequent history of Afghanistan’s ongoing war has intensified the exclusion of Afghan women from the social, political, and economic arenas. This has not only resulted in the exacerbation of widespread poverty, but in the perpetuation of the Afghan conflict itself. With the foreign presence in Afghanistan feeling the pressure to end the nearly two-decade intervention, peace and negotiation with opposing non-state actors has dominated the current dialogue. Afghan women continue to be excluded from the decision-making processes and the lack of access to leadership roles. If Afghanistan continues to exclude women from peace processes, including negotiations, a sustainable peace is not achievable. Feminism must play a crucial role in paving the way forward for Afghanistan to adopt a long-lasting peace. This article documents the author’s personal experience as she witnessed the transformation of Afghanistan from the extreme left government of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan to the extreme right government of the Taliban and examines the impact for the future of women’s human rights in Afghanistan.

Keywords: feminism, terrorism, gender equality, communism, Peace Negotiations

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Poverty, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Peace Processes, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2019

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