Afghanistan’s women historically have mediated in conflicts among families and tribes, their role often seen as a last resort to stop bloodshed. That tradition has been eroded by four decades of war and the increased influence of more restrictive cultural ideas from neighboring countries and the Middle East. But from Kabul to the mountains of Kunar province, activist Afghan women are reclaiming their place in peace processes. On October 25, USIP hosted Afghanistan’s first lady, Rula Ghani, for a discussion on the evolution of women’s roles in fostering peace amid one of Asia’s longest current wars.

U.S. Institute of Peace is on Mixlr

Today Afghan women are claiming their place in peace processes, playing more active roles in peacebuilding at national and local levels. Women are members of the government’s High Peace Council and in 2015 women participated in preliminary talks with the Taliban in Oslo, Norway. In the eastern province of Kunar, a jirga, or assembly, of elderly women held talks at the houses and hideouts of insurgent fighters to persuade them to renounce violence.

As first lady, Rula Ghani has worked to foster peace efforts, notably by women. In May, she chaired an international symposium in Kabul on reviving women’s traditional peacemaking roles in Afghanistan. In her appearance at USIP, she discussed her work in empowering women as agents of peace.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #WomenPeacemakers.

Speakers

Nancy Lindborg, Moderator
President, United States Institute of Peace

H.E. Rula Ghani, Speaker
First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), Panelist
53rd Congressional District of California, U.S. House of Representatives

Palwasha Kakar, Panelist
Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace

Related Publications

How can Afghans make peace AND protect women? Meet Ayesha Aziz.

How can Afghans make peace AND protect women? Meet Ayesha Aziz.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

By: Palwasha L. Kakar

After nearly 40 years of war, Afghanistan and the international community are urgently seeking paths for a peace process. But amid the tentative efforts—a three-day ceasefire in June, the peace march across the country by hundreds of Afghans and talks by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad—a somber question hangs for women and human rights advocates. How can Afghanistan make peace with the Taliban while protecting democracy and women’s rights?

Gender; Religion; Peace Processes

How to Secure Afghanistan’s Future

How to Secure Afghanistan’s Future

Monday, December 10, 2018

By: William Byrd

From a diplomatic and process standpoint, Geneva Conference on Afghanistan was generally seen as a success by participants (though some countries were not represented at the minister level), and the Afghan government showcased the progress it made in implementing reforms and national priority programs over the past two years. But what did the GCA accomplish substantively, what was left undone, and what questions were left unanswered?

Democracy & Governance; Economics & Environment

Johnny Walsh on Election Season in Afghanistan

Johnny Walsh on Election Season in Afghanistan

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

By: Johnny Walsh

As Afghans wait for official results from the parliamentary polls, Johnny Walsh says that the country is already entering “high political season” in preparation for the critical April 2019 presidential election. Although the Taliban continues to carry out high-profile attacks across the country, Walsh says that many Afghans are focused on the presidential polls and its implications for the peace process.

Democracy & Governance

View All Publications