Last week in Kabul, Afghan women from across the country issued a collective statement on the deteriorating security situation. Organized by the Afghan Women’s Network, the all-women’s press conference brought together civil society leaders to articulate the demands of Afghan women and girls, many of whom are threatened daily as the Taliban expands its territorial control. GIWPS stands with Afghan women, and we urge policymakers to listen to these calls to action from the ground. We offer a translated version of the statement below to amplify this urgent message.
Afghanistan is in one of the most sensitive political junctures of its history. The Afghan conflict is not a civil war; it’s a protracted proxy conflict that is forced on Afghanistan and has hijacked the peace of its citizens. At present, the Afghan people and security forces face 22 different international militant and terrorist groups day and night without a break in order to safeguard our security and world security.
Women and children are the most vulnerable, according to a recent UNAMA report. They constitute 46 percent of overall civilian casualties; they account for a significant number of deaths in the current surge for power that violates all national and international norms of humanitarian and human rights principles. The deliberate destruction and looting of civilian homes, the attempt at genocide, forced displacement of ethnic groups, forced marriages, mistreatment of prisoners, disrespect for human dignity, and destruction and burning of public properties are an increasingly unbearable frustration.
“We want an end to civilian killings, targeted assassinations, the sexual slavery of women, forced ”marriages,” and the use of women as war bounties by the Taliban.”
This is happening in a situation where there is the possibility of meaningful dialogue and peace with help of the international community; no excuse whatsoever can legitimize the current insurgency and violence.
The conflict has no winner, and Afghanistan’s history shows that winning power through coercive means and violence is not sustainable.
We, the women of Afghanistan, with full understanding of the current situation, demand the following:
We call on all sides of conflict for an immediate, permanent and unconditional ceasefire. We want an end to civilian killings, targeted assassinations, the sexual slavery of women, forced ”marriages,” and the use of women as war bounties by the Taliban.
We want an end to war crimes, disrespect to dead bodies, mistreatment of prisoners and wounded personnel, violations of human dignity, and the destruction of public and private properties. Stop involving international terrorist groups in Afghanistan, mainly Al-Qaida, ISIS, Lashkar Taiba, Jahesh Mohammad, Jundullah, and other groups.
We urge the expedition of all efforts that support the peace process and consensus building with political and civil leaders (women and men) in Afghanistan. This must be done in collaboration with the regional and international communities to have sustainable peace and governance that is based on the will of the people.
Finally, we demand monitoring of the situation in Afghanistan by the United Nations, international human rights organizations, and Amnesty International and support to internally displaced persons and victims of the war and peace processes.