April 29, 2019

Loya Jirga

A Loya Jirga, or Grand Assembly, was held on April 29, 2019, in Kabul, to discuss the peace process.

Research from around the world has shown that when women are included in peace negotiations, the resulting agreement is 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years. Therefore, for the first time, a large percentage of Afghan women were given the oppourtunity to participate in a Loya Jirga. They raised their voices for peace and played a key role in the ongoing peace talks. Now, Afghan women say "no" to a symbolic role in peace talks.
The recent Loya Jirga seemed to be very fruitful as the Afghan women played their part and they had a key role in terms of decision-making.

A very good example is:
A woman participated in the Loya Jirga with her newborn baby which was really praised by the committee. Afghan women have already demonstrated an ability to mediate peace. Women at all levels have worked tirelessly across ethnic, religious and tribal lines to address social welfare and humanitarian concerns in communities

One such woman is Fatana Gailani, head of the Afghanistan Women Council, which provides 2,000 women with microfinance loans and support in obtaining an education. If the US-led coalition leaves the country and the Taliban try to seize power in areas they do not already control, she is concerned that the freedom women have gained since the American intervention in 2001 will be lost.

“If the Taliban come into power, we want to keep the rights we have. We want a woman minister. We want three or four women in the cabinet. We want women to have less economic problems and be able to go to school,” she said. Gailani hopes that damage to human rights by an Islamist takeover can be ameliorated if other countries get involved to help protect Afghan women.

“We are asking the international community to secure a guarantee from the Taliban that women’s rights will be protected."