Taliban team at peace talks to include women
Women will be included for the first time in the Taliban delegation to peace talks in Qatar this month, the movement's main spokesman said on April 15, ahead of the latest round of meetings aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.
For a group notorious for its strictly conservative attitude to women's rights, the move represents a step towards addressing demands that women be included in the talks, intended to lay the foundations for a future peace settlement.
The April 19-21 meeting in Doha will be between the Taliban and a delegation comprising prominent Afghans, including opposition politicians and civil society activists. It follows similar talks between the two sides in Moscow in February.
The non-Taliban delegation that was in Moscow could be expanded next week to include some government officials, but acting in their private capacities as the insurgents have refused to hold formal talks with Kabul.
"There will be women among Taliban delegation members in the Doha, Qatar meeting," Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's main spokesman, said by telephone.
He did not name the women, but added, "These women have no family relationship with the senior members of the Taliban, they are normal Afghans, from inside and outside the country, who have been supporters and part of the struggle of the Islamic Emirate.”
In a tweet, he specified that the women would only join the discussions with Afghan civil society and political representatives, not in the main negotiations with American officials, led by U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.