In Today's Update, we have a story of a bad-ass woman fighting to maintain women's rights throughout the peace talks, Taliban and Afghan leaders have a positive session on peace talk framework, and more sad news for Afghans and Taliban and Government forces continue to clash
Fawzia Koofi -- Peaceful Warrior
There's a saying we came up with while serving time in Afghanistan, "The only thing tougher than an Afghan man is an Afghan woman." They live in the same environmental conditions, political strife, and warfare, but they doing it while being oppressed with little hope of relief. Here's what happens when women like that become empowered.
Fawzia Koofi is one of four women in the Afghan Delegation at the Peace Talks in Doha. The Afghan born woman had hopes for becoming a doctor, but that was taken from her in 1996 when the Taliban forbade women from going to school. Days after her wedding, the Taliban arrested her husband and he died years later from Tuberculosis contracted during his time in prison. When she was a member of Afghan parliament, she and her daughter survived a drive-by shooting into their vehicle. And on 14 August 2020, she was attacked by gunmen as she rode in the backseat of her car.
Talk about a woman scorned...
She survived the attack, had the bullet removed from her arm, and is seated at the table in Doha with her arm in a sling. When asked about her presence, Fawzia commented, “It's always not easy to talk with somebody who has so many political differences with you to the extent that they try to kill you."
She's the one to watch in the upcoming months or years as these peace talks progress.
The Battle Continues to Rage On
In spite of the new peace talks, fighting is still the thing to do in Afghanistan. On 19 September, militants and Afghan government forces clashed. The engagement lasted about an hour and ended with an Afghan government air strike that took the lives of 10 civilians and an estimated 30 militants. The Taliban isn't claiming credit for the attackes, but if it walks like the Taliban and acts like the Taliban...
The 21st of September was the bloodiest day in Afghanistan since the Peace Talks began. Recent reports state that 57 Afghan soldiers were killed, dozens wounded, and an estimated 80 Taliban fighters met their maker. Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said Taliban attacks had killed 98 civilians and injured 230 others in the last two weeks across 24 provinces.
And a Shiny Spot Amidst the Chaos
On 21 September 2020, The Afghan and Taliban delegations held a working session to discuss the framework and working principles of the upcoming meetings. There seems to be agreement on the majority of points and some uncertainty on which points are not ready for positive discussion.
From our reading across multiple news sources, the sticking points revolve around the religious interpretation of the agreement and women's rights. The Taliban is pushing for a conservative, strict interpretation of the agreement and the Afghan government is pushing for a more internationally recognized interpretation. As for women's rights, the Taliban stated women will be able to attend school and work, but how that's interpreted by strict religious code is yet to be determined.
And that's it for today's updates. Drop your thoughts and/or predictions below.