Between Hope and Fear: Rural Afghan Women Talk about Peace and War

Authored by: Martine van Bijlert

Categories: Conflict Prevention, Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Access to Justice and Rule of Law, Countering Violent Extremism, Democratization and Political Participation, Economic Participation
Country: Afghanistan
Region: South and Central Asia
Year: 2021
Citation: van Bijlert, Martine. "Between Hope and Fear: Rural Afghan Women Talk about Peace and War." Afghanistan Analysts Network. July 2021.

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Executive Summary

As the United States pushes ahead with the rapid and unconditional withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, an unrelenting Taleban offensive has driven the Afghan government out of scores of districts across the country. Many Afghans are seeing their fears about the fallout from the ill-considered US-driven peace process come true. Against this backdrop, AAN’s new report by Martine van Bijlert probes the views and experiences, fears about war and hopes for peace of rural women across Afghanistan. Through in-depth conversations, ‘Between Hope and Fear: Rural Afghan women talk about peace and war’ provides a poignant and intimate context to what is happening, as large parts of the country are currently contested or have recently changed hands (again), making the report even more relevant today than when we embarked on it.

This report was inspired by Afghan women activists and their unrelenting and articulate push for greater and more meaningful representation in the peace process. In their campaigns and advocacy they made it clear that their struggle was not ‘just’ for the protection of women’s rights, but rather for a sustainable peace that would not lead to an unravelling of the political system, would ensure that violence was reduced, if not ended, and would not curtail the rights and freedoms of large parts of the population.