ON AFGHANISTAN | Afghan President: No Gender Apartheid Under My Responsibility

January 27, 2020

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan reiterated his commitment to women’s rights and human rights. In response to a question on the ongoing talks between the Taliban and the US, he stated that there are some questions that need to be answered, and the top question is gender.

He was specific in assuring the leaders and the Afghan women that “No Afghan woman, as long as I am alive and in a position of responsibility, is going to be subjected to gender apartheid.” It was a clear reference to how Afghan women were subjected to gender apartheid during the Taliban, something that worries Afghan women the most in the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban. He continued, “our ambassadors to the United Nations and US are Afghan women, and they are second to none to anybody. The generation of young Afghan women sees the world as their potential stage.”

The Afghan president has been clear that if the Taliban are ready to end violence, the Afghan people will welcome them back to their society. He asked, “Are the Taliban ready to see the end of violence? If they are, the Afghan society is willing to reintegrate them.” However, he cautioned that if the Taliban see the peace process “as a Trojan horse to overthrow the government, then the society and government will mobilize.”

President Ghani also noted that 70% of the Afghan population is under 25 and that “they are not going to be caged,” a reference to how the Taliban treated women as well as young people under their power in the late 90s.

While speaking at Davos, he defended his legacy of the past five years. He said Afghanistan has made significant achievements in various areas, including security. He assured the world leaders that the “Afghan security forces have emerged to be a significant force: our commandos are second to none in the region, our air force has tripled, our commandos and special forces have doubled. We have taken eight districts back from the Taliban.” The training of the security forces, especially the Afghan Air Force and the Afghan Special Forces have continuously been acknowledged as one of the major successes of the US intervention in Afghanistan.

Source: World Economic Forum 1/22/20

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