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Baldwin, Shaheen Call on President Biden to Make Women’s Inclusion in Afghan Peace Negotiations a Foreign Policy Priority

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today led a group of Senators in sending a letter to President Joe Biden, underscoring the critical importance of promoting women’s rights and ensuring women’s active participation in the ongoing Afghan peace negotiations. The Senators are urging the administration to defend and build on the progress made over the last two decades on women’s rights and the role of women in Afghan society, and to make clear that the U.S. government expects the Afghan and Taliban leaders to preserve and promote the rights of women and girls during and following a negotiated peace agreement.

“Under the new U.S. Administration, there is an opportunity to realign the U.S.-Afghan Partnership and consistently support the unequivocal importance of the protection of women’s rights. As the U.S. determines its path to a continued engagement in strengthening a democratic Afghanistan while balancing a responsible military exit, it is critical that support for a peace settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban is rooted in a process and agreement that embodies the aspirations of all Afghan citizens, including and particularly women,” wrote the Senators in their letter.

The Senators highlighted the decades of data that show women’s participation in peace negotiations increases the likelihood of their success, and their involvement in post-conflict recovery lowers the risk of relapsed conflict. When women are equal and active participants in politics, countries are more prosperous, peace is more sustainable, and governance is more inclusive. The Senators also included a list of policy recommendations for the Biden administration that would boost U.S. efforts to uphold the UNSCR 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security Act, as intended.

In closing, the Senators wrote, “The future of a democratic and stable Afghanistan depends on how gains on human rights and women’s empowerment are protected, and how the country’s political processes and institutions are safeguarded to be inclusive and representative. In supporting a peace process that meaningfully and fully involves Afghan women, and in bringing the country closer to a sustainable peace, we honor the monumental commitment and sacrifice that U.S. military and civilians have made in Afghanistan. The United States can and should ensure that women are substantively involved in the peace process and that their rights are preserved moving forward.”

The letter – which is also signed by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Patty Murray (D-WA) – can be read in full here.

“The full inclusion of women is essential to forging a lasting peace and a prosperous Afghanistan. As the Biden-Harris Administration reviews its Afghan policy and supports the peace negotiations, women must have a seat at the table in shaping the future of Afghanistan. NDI continues to work with Afghan women’s coalitions and groups to safeguard and further strengthen women's rights in Afghanistan,” said Raissa Tatad-Hazell, Deputy Regional Director for Asia Programs, National Democratic Institute (NDI).