Afghanistan’s first lady Deputy Speaker in Parliament Fawzia Koofi talks about being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, negotiating with the Taliban in Doha, and the newest assault she confronted
Fawzia Koofi, Afghanistan politician and negotiator on the peace course of underway with the Taliban in Doha, says her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, which was disclosed by a Norwegian Peace Council checklist of frontrunners final week, is recognition for all Afghan women fighting to be included within the reconciliation course of, and to have a spot on the desk.
How do you are feeling about being shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize, and likewise for being thought of one of many frontrunners?
I believe it is a mixture for all of the efforts that folks of Afghanistan have made and the struggles and sacrifices that they’ve paid in the course of the conflict, as a result of everybody in Afghanistan is a sufferer of conflict. Women particularly have confronted injustice, discrimination, misplaced their family members, but in addition had alternatives taken away from them – alternatives for schooling and work [during the Taliban regime]. So, they wanted to be a part of the peace course of, they want to make it possible for their rights is not going to be compromised.
And I believe this [nomination] is a recognition of all of the efforts that women have made to be included within the course of and to be heard. And I believe it is going to assist loads within the course of by giving such a excessive recognition to the efforts of the Afghan lady. It offers me personally, rather more energy, together with my different three sisters [women on the 21-member negotiating team] who’re on this means of negotiation.
Do you count on to win?
The incontrovertible fact that we’ve come up to right here is an enormous achievement for Afghan women. It signifies that the worldwide group and the world is watching the peace course of and understands the significance of inclusion of women. Even if I do not win, and I do know that they’ve a tricky means of choice, simply the truth that we’ve come up to right here [in the Nobel nomination process] is an enormous success for not solely the women however for all of Afghanistan.
Also learn: Afghan lady chief makes it to Nobel frontrunner checklist
How are the talks in Doha going?
What we’ve to bear in mind is that the conflict has gone on for 4 many years in Afghanistan. I perceive the expectations again dwelling are excessive, individuals need to see the peace course of influence their life shortly. But the method has its personal challenges as properly, we wish to actually make the inspiration of those talks sturdy. So proper now, we’re engaged on the inspiration, and the principles of process.
Taliban has prior to now mentioned that women shouldn’t be a part of the talks course of. How did the Taliban management react to your presence there?
Well, at this stage, I are not looking for to be thought of as only a lady. I need to be thought of as a consultant of my nation and as a politician, who has equal rights to sit throughout the desk and talk about the way forward for her nation. Not solely the way forward for women however the way forward for everybody in that nation. I do not count on the Taliban to react negatively to the consultant of 55% of their society, if they need to actually reconcile and if they need to pursue their political agendas, not via bullets, however via ballots. They have to respect the range and perceive that we’re a part of the brand new Afghanistan.
If the Taliban is to come again into the mainstream, how will the progress made on this “new” Afghanistan, when it comes to rights for women and minorities, of democracy be protected?
I do know that the individuals of Afghanistan are frightened and women particularly have reliable considerations [about this]. The type of scenario they’ve been via in the course of the civil conflict, however in notably in the course of the Taliban regime, as a result of the Taliban principally denied all primary human rights for women. If the notion is that we give up to one ideology, or to the opposite, I do not assume that talks will really succeed. We are working collectively, we’ve variations, large variations, and these talks aren’t straightforward.
My understanding is that we hope we are going to come to a political settlement, not an settlement that can give up Afghanistan to one or the opposite thought. So hopefully, we are going to get one thing that can accommodate the differences of Afghanistan as we speak.
Is there a backside line? Are there issues which might be non-negotiable, that women can’t be taken out of the workforce, that women will be ready to get pleasure from equal rights?
Women have already suffered loads. If you have a look at the social indicators, sure, we’ve had progress over the previous 20 years when it comes to women’s schooling, well being, political participation, entry to financial sources, nothing to examine to the time when Taliban had been in energy, however nonetheless Afghanistan is a rustic which has the worst indicators, the very best numbers for maternal mortality, highest illiteracy charges and so forth. So how rather more lets pay for the sake of peace?
Peace, with integrity and with dignity and inclusivity is the one approach to convey stability. We even have Hindus and Sikhs in our nation, we’ve sectarian minorities, so no peace will be lengthy lasting if everybody in Afghanistan doesn’t really feel that they’re being heard.
Tell us about the newest assault you confronted?
About a month and a half in the past, I used to be coming from one of many provinces. I had gone to provide condolences to the household of a military officer who misplaced his life within the battlefield. On the best way again, two automobiles started chasing us and whereas [militants in] one automobile stopped my automobile, these within the different one started taking pictures from the again. My proper hand was fractured, and I nonetheless have to go to the hospital right here each day to clear the open wound. My daughter was with me in the course of the assault, and I used to be fortunate, if it was three or 4 centimetres nearer to my chest, in all probability I’d haven’t been alive.
What has it been like to interact with the Taliban, given they had been accountable for the violence in Afghanistan, and for the violence that you’ve suffered personally? What was it like to be on the desk with them?
I did undergo some emotional moments. I had to undergo sure course of to settle for the truth that we can’t proceed to pursue our agendas via violence and extra killing and extra bloodshed. Every day in Afghanistan, persons are dropping lives. So sure, we’re all victims of conflict. I’ve personally gone via a lot, not solely when it comes to dropping my members of the family, my brother, father, my husband, into the conflict. Even elements of my physique, and my proper hand [injured in an assassination attempt in August 2020] is not totally operational but.
It’s additionally in regards to the alternatives that had been taken away from us, from me as lady. I might have been a medical physician; the opposite younger women of Afghanistan have additionally misplaced alternatives. Now the choice is, are we going to proceed to kill extra individuals to pursue our political agenda, or there is a greater approach, by being an instance of humanity that may rule minds and hearts of individuals. If Taliban assume they are going to have a victory via bloodshed, they’ve to actually appropriate themselves.
What are your expectations from India at this level in Afghanistan’s historical past?
Regardless of what the politics of our governments have been, we’ve at all times had a pleasant relationship with India. My expectation is that the regional international locations will put their efforts ahead to assist the institution of a peaceable settlement. I hope that India as considered one of our nice mates will get engaged. I additionally hope that India continues to assist our schooling system as they’ve been doing.