Many of Afghanistan’s major social and political gains since 2001 have come under significant threat since the Taliban’s takeover. Most important among them are the civil and political rights afforded by the 2004 constitution, which the Taliban have discarded. A number of the papers in this collection consider the unprecedented advances that were made in the past 20 years, particularly in the pursuit of equality for Afghan women and the actors, organizations and processes driving that progress. The question now is how to best preserve these gains and ensure the security of those who continue to champion civil and political rights for all Afghans.
Another key issue involves the prospects for justice for atrocities committed during the war, as well as atrocity prevention during Taliban rule. Perspectives differ on how to handle such crimes, and a number of papers in this collection consider lessons learned from past cases as well as processes, institutions and experiences indigenous to Afghanistan that may be relevant going forward.