Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to discuss, among other issues, the future of Afghanistan if the Taliban is ousted as a result of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. While Powell openly condemned the Taliban, according to the Washington Post, he also suggested that aspects of the Taliban may be incorporated into a reconstructed Afghan government. “There are many people within the Taliban movement who will still be there,” Powell said. “They’re not all leaving the country, so I hope…the international community will be able to put together something that will appeal to all of the Afghan people.” Powell expects that the United Nations will play a leading role, and Richard Haass, State Department Director of Policy Planning, will meet with UN officials and U.S. allies to discuss the situation this week.
The Feminist Majority is concerned about the preservation of some of the Taliban and their inclusion in the decision-making process as it is necessary to establish a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan where women have equal rights such as they did under the Constitution of 1964. The Feminist Majority has been pushing for the restoration of Afghan women’s rights and the inclusion of women in the formation of a new Afghan government. Women make up sixty to seventy percent of Afghanistan’s total population. Before the Taliban instituted its harsh rule of gender apartheid, women were the majority of teachers, healthcare workers, and students. According to Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, “If civil society is to be rebuilt in Afghanistan and the rogue state that has been sustained by drug trafficking is to be brought to an end, all citizens – especially those in the healthcare and education fields – must be utilized….The United States would be repeating a tragic mistake if it again turns to another set of extremists as it did to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and chooses a dictatorship as the most expedient strategy to replace the Taliban. The restoration of a broad-based democracy, representative of both ethnic minorities and women, with women at the table, is necessary to break the back of a terrorist and a war-torn existence.”