The meeting convened by the Government of Norway with the Taliban and representatives of Afghan civil society comes at a critical time in Afghanistan’s history. The country is facing a dire humanitarian crisis as well as political, social and human rights crises that need immediate attention. These urgent challenges should be addressed comprehensively and with accountability. The question is not whether to talk to the Taliban but rather how to talk to the Taliban. While we all understand the need for engagement, the meeting must also be an opportunity to remind and pressure the Taliban on women and human rights. Afghans, particularly Afghan women, are closely watching this meeting, as are women around the world.
On 20 September 2021, a number of Afghan women leaders met with global women leaders from Afghanistan, Argentina, Greece, Ireland, Liberia, Nepal, Turkey, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States. The group included a former president, ministers, ambassadors, high-level UN officials, judges, legislators, journalists, academics, artists, and human rights advocates. Margot Wallström, former Foreign Minister of Sweden, chaired the meeting, which was convened by the Roosevelt House Human Rights Program in collaboration with the Sisterhood is Global Institute and Women for Afghan Women.