Women and the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Process

  • Citation: Rivas, Althea-Maria, and Mariam Safi. “Women and the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Process.” International Affairs 98, no. 1 (January 2022): 85–104.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Country and Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • Asia and the Pacific
    • Central Asia
    • Afghanistan
    • women
    • peace
    • reintegration

In 2010, as the Afghan government announced its intention to begin a formal peace process, there were numerous calls for women to have a seat at the table. Both mainstream and critical discourse on women and the peace process in Afghanistan, however, relied on the production of essentialized subjectivities which failed to recognize the political and social complexity of women’s lives, diminished their intellectual contributions and silenced their voices. This article challenges the simultaneous hyper-visualization and silencing of Afghan women by both Afghan and international actors. Drawing on feminist and decolonial theory, we examine the ways in which the colonial mechanisms of intervention, patriarchy and the global hierarchies of knowledge production worked in tandem to marginalize Afghan women while upholding them as agents of peace. The article brings together findings from three participatory research projects on women and peace, which took place from 2010 to 2014 across eight provinces in Afghanistan. A prismed view of the participants’ intersectional realities is constructed, which highlights diverse positionalities and articulations of peace, the social and political cleavages, and differentiated obstacles to their involvement in the peace and reintegration process. The concluding remarks emphasize the relevance of these findings for Afghanistan at the time of publication.