Women lawmakers demand global backing for a truce


KABUL: In a letter addressed to their counterparts in the US, EU and Qatar, a group of female Wolesi Jirga members has requested support for an armistice in Afghanistan against the backdrop of escalated violence between the warring sides.

Despite peace talks are taking place in Doha, the levels of violence and miseries in Afghanistan have drastically surged, the Parliamentary Women Caucus (PWC) said in the letter. 

Gabriela Cuevas Barron, the president of Inter-Parliamentary Union, David Sassoli, the European Parliament head, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, and Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, chairman of Qatar’s Consultative Assembly were addressed in the letter.

PWC comprises 45 women parliamentarians, 40 members from the House of People (Wolesi Jirga), and five from the Senate.

The letter also addresses Wolesi Jirga Women Caucus, Human Rights, Civil Society, and Women Affairs Commission and Civil Society members of the Upper House.

According to PWC, the Taliban’s attacks on major urban centers in southern Helmand province have developed a humanitarian crisis in the country as they resulted in the displacement of 35,000 civilians, forced more than 4,000 children to drop out of school, and damaged a power station that was worth millions of dollars.

Similarly, scores of children were killed and wounded besides adults in a recent attack that occurred in the Ghani Khel district of eastern Nangarhar province.

Affirming that Afghans do not feel safe in the state, women MPs have urged the US and EU’s support for an immediate ceasefire during peace negotiations in Doha. 

“We want you to stand with the Afghan people in achieving a real and comprehensive ceasefire. We believe we can achieve this with your help,” read the letter.

Meanwhile, violence and conflicts have surged in the country. In the ongoing battle of Helmand that entered its 12th day on Oct. 21, as many as 353 Taliban fighters, 73 ANDSF forces and 17 civilians have been so far killed. Besides, thousands of families have been dislocated from their home towns due to the raging war.

This comes as in a similar letter, a group of 19 Wolesi Jirga members had last month asked the chairman of the US House Oversight and Reform National Security Subcommittee to grill US Point-man for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad about some of their key concerns and issues concerning the peace process.

The Wolesi Jirga members had written that they didn’t want a peace deal that prevented little girls from going to school, “not a deal that leads to the destruction of our institutions, not a deal that backtracks on the great achievements of freedom and democracy. Let’s make sure that Afghanistan does not become a safe-haven for terrorism by proxy.”