In Afghanistan, Shaheen Says Women Must Take Larger Role in Peace Efforts

Apr 15, 2019

Sen. Shaheen, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is touring Afghanistan and Iraq.
Credit Twitter/Sen. Shaheen

As the United States prepares for another round of peace talks with the Taliban, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says Afghan women are prepared to play a larger role.

Shaheen, who is visiting both Iraq and Afghanistan this week as part of a congressional delegation, told reporters Monday that she met with a number of women leaders during stops in Kabul and Kandahar Province, and that she’s advocating for an “inclusive process” when talks resume later this week in Qatar.

The Taliban says its delegation, for the first time, will include women.

“Obviously any peace negotiations have to be conditions-based, and I think we and the Senate will be watching very carefully what happens as the result of any ongoing discussions,” said Shaheen during a conference call.

Shaheen described a growing number of peace demonstrations led by women in Afghanistan, and the “significant presence of women” in a country that under Taliban rule denied most basic rights to women and girls.

Shaheen said she’s also met with local officials and U.S military personnel, including three soldiers from New Hampshire. After two decades of conflict, she said soldiers continue to play an important role in training and developing local forces.

Shaheen is travelling with Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Doug Jones of Alabama. Last year, Shaheen, who serves on the Foreign Relations committee, visited Iraq, Syria and Turkey.