This month marks 10 years of international intervention in Afghanistan. Liberating its women was one of the justifications given for the US led NATO intervention in the country and toppling the Taliban – a regime that made female education illegal and forbade women to hold jobs or even to leave the house without a male family member.
Ten years on, Christian Aid has played a significant role in helping women and men recover from that regime. But these gains must now be protected by a legitimate political peace process to avoid the loss of hard-won rights and livelihoods for ordinary Afghans.
Christian Aid has now worked in Afghanistan for nearly three decades – under four different regimes – to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and inequality.
Our work ranges from building strong networks with civil society organisations to help them protect women’s rights, to working with livelihoods partners in rural communities to provide long-term sustainable solutions to poverty, for example through silkworm production.
Christian Aid believes that the achievements made in the last 10 years must not be lost. We are asking the international community to ensure that women and civil society organisations participate in an inclusive and comprehensive peace process.
However, the current peace process is so far neither inclusive nor comprehensive. It lacks transparency and accountability, and is being conducted behind closed doors.
Under pressure from the NATO military disengagement, this process risks leading to a short term and simplistic power sharing deal. This would run the risk that the needs and rights of ordinary Afghan men and women are sacrificed. We believe that it is essential to protect the rights of all Afghans, to uphold the Government to account and to call for a lasting peace.
© Johanna Rogers is Asia and Middle East Journalist at Christian Aid. http://www.christianaid.org.uk/