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WAW and FMF Warn Against Negotiating with Taliban

Women for Afghan Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation released a letter at the Amnesty International "Shadow Summit" on Sunday that warns that negotiating with the Taliban will not work and will produce disastrous results for Women and Afghanistan.

In part, the letter states, "the subjugation of women is not a sidebar, something that can be avoided through negotiations. It is the linchpin of Taliban strategy, having nothing to do with religion. The subjugation of half a country is the straightest path to subjugating the whole. Just forbid women from going to work or school or leaving the house without a mahram, (allowable male escort), beat them with whips or guns on the street because a square inch of ankle shows below the burkha, drag a few into the Kabul stadium, force them to their knees and shoot them in the head, and a terrorized country will submit. This strategy worked before and will work again. And we in the "developed" world will sit before our TV sets wringing our hands as we did a mere 10 years ago. We will wonder--some of us with contempt--how that country failed to transform itself from the ground up in those 10 years--after 30 years of war, inexpressible brutality, dire poverty, and a 40% unemployment rate."

It also says, "Women for Afghan Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation do not believe negotiations with the Taliban will bring peace to Afghanistan or protection of any kind to Afghan women. We believe the opposite will happen. We fear dire consequences for the country, especially for women. The Taliban does not have the support of the Afghan people. Its leadership has shown nothing but contempt for the Afghan constitution and women's and human rights. Although we believe women must be at all negotiations and decision making tables, we also believe these negotiations are doomed to failure. They simply will not and have not worked."

"We want to invest our considerable energies and experience in other solutions to the Afghan situation. Security, economic, infrastructure, and civic development are essential for Afghanistan as well as advancement of women's and girls' economic, educational, health, civic participation, and political rights. Funding from NATO countries is necessary to secure this security, development and advancement. It does not mean we are giving in to a permanent war. It means we look for strategies that are not destined to failure before the ink is dry on the settlement pages. Unfortunately, if the Taliban take over the country, the advances we hope the world will invest in as part of its new plan will come to nothing, for the Taliban will want to keep the country at the bottom of the human development index. The lowest imaginable standard of living for the Afghan people will be part of their strategy, as it was in the past."

"We are not in favor of war. We want peace. But not one that will cost Afghan women's and girls' rights, lives, and human dignity and lead to civil war in Afghanistan."

Women for Afghan Women is a women's human rights organization with programs for women in New York City and throughout Afghanistan. The Feminist Majority Foundation was the first (1997) US organization to work for US and UN non-recognition of the Taliban because of its gross violations of women's human rights through gender apartheid. The FMF has conducted a campaign for Afghan women and girls ever since.

Media Resources: Women for Afghan Women and Feminist Majority Foundation Letter 5/20/2012

© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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