By Tyler Swartz
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the annual Munich Security Conference in southern Germany on Feb. 14 to discuss a temporary truce between the United States and the Taliban, according to the Associated Press.
The United States mandated that a seven-day “‘reduction in violence’” across Afghanistan must be fulfilled before any peace deal is officialized. After the seven-day period, the United States will determine whether or not the reduction was a success or not — if that reduction is upheld, the U.S. will thereafter negotiate with the Taliban, according to ABC News.
Despite the fact that the peace deal is in its earliest stages, the U.S. and the Taliban have already worked out some prerequisite demands: the Taliban stated that the U.S. orders the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, according to the Associated Press. The U.S. would also withdraw 5,400 troops from Afghanistan as part of a deal, according to the BBC.
This plan will eventually allow for the Taliban to secure some sort of “political legitimacy,” something they have not yet attained, according to The Associated Press. As a result of the agreement, the U.S. may witness less tension in the Middle East region.
While it is important that the U.S. work to diplomatically solve its conflicts in the Middle East, many remain wary about what is to come next for Afghanistani women, many of whom fear that they will be persecuted once the U.S. pulls out its soldiers, according to ABC News.
“‘What we Afghan women fear is that this situation will get worse after international forces withdraw from Afghanistan next year. We fear we will lose our rights and security, particularly if the Taliban are brought back into government,’” said Tamana Heela, an Afghan women’s rights activist, according to ABC News.
As it stands, the U.S.-Taliban pact has not made any note about the role of women in the state, according to ABC News.
Seeing that the peace agreement has witnessed explicit dissent in its lack of attention to women’s rights by both Afghans and Americans, it is possible that there would be an amended version to address the most recent concerns surfaced around these matters.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has continued to stress that it is the Afghan women who must speak out and defend themselves. This mentality, however, has faced criticism, as many Afghan women who have formerly attempted to speak against the Taliban were killed.