Afghanistan

Following the recent takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, the country is now in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that poses extreme threats to lives, safety, and rights of Afghans – particularly women, girls, and human rights defenders. 

Working in close collaboration with WILPF Afghanistan and international human rights organisations, WILPF is focused on ensuring the rights of Afghan women and girls, advocating for refugees and those seeking to evacuate, and securing peace and humanitarian aid for a country in turmoil.

Feminist peace

Blue circle with three fists to the air, white dove in air

Militarised masculinity

Yellow circle with the backs of three soldiers

Demilitarisation

Red Circle with Military Tank and Helicopter

What's new?

Where I Am Going and Where I Am: The Personal and Professional Opportunities and Challenges Facing Afghan Women Human Rights Defenders outside Afghanistan shares the key findings and recommendations from field and desk research conducted by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and Women for Women International (WfWI) between April-May 2022. The research included a geographic mapping as well as individual interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) with women’s rights activists (WRAs) and women human rights defenders (WHRDs) who fled Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

"For me, the basic need right now is the emotional and mental peace and stability. I am a young woman who lives alone in this camp and is away from family. My family was torn, and we turned into refugees in other countries. I was left alone and ended up somewhere that I never imagined to be for such a long time, withoutmy family. Therefore, emotional, and mental peace is my first need."

Militarisation in Afghanistan

Decades of war, conflict and occupation in Afghanistan has resulted in the extreme militarisation of the country. The militarisation has included a steady and massive supply of weapons and other equipment to Afghanistan, contributing to death, injury and violence on a massive scale, and rampant corruption and social destruction

Militarised Masculinities in Afghanistan

War, violence, and upheaval have been everyday realities of life in Afghanistan for the last 40 years. This period of violence has included the Soviet occupation, the Afghan Civil War, the US-led invasion and war against the Taliban and, most recently, the evacuation and withdrawal of US forces.

Human Rights Defenders and Their Challenges

War, violence, and upheaval have been everyday realities of life in Afghanistan for the last 40 years. This period of violence has included the Soviet occupation, the Afghan Civil War, the US-led invasion and war against the Taliban and, most recently, the evacuation and withdrawal of US forces.

Massive Displacement of People from Afghanistan

This displacement of people within and from Afghanistan has been occurring for decades amidst continuous war, conflict, and natural disasters across the country. People have faced massive political, economic, and social pressures and disruption, causing a protracted conflict and a humanitarian crisis. This crisis has manifested through food insecurity, corruption, poverty, and civilian casualties and harms – all of which have contributed to massive and continuous displacement of people within and outside the country.

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LATEST STORIES ON AFGHANISTAN

14 November 2022
3min
Q&A
#Afghanistan

WILPF Vice President Jamila Afghani Wins the 2022 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity 

3 November 2022
1min
News
#Afghanistan

WILPF Afghanistan Launches Psychosocial Support Sessions for Women in Crisis

4 July 2022
10min
News
#Afghanistan

Afghanistan: A Young Woman Forced to Flee Her Beloved Home Country Dreams of Becoming Its First Female President

Meet WILPF Afghanistan

WILPF Afghanistan was established in 2015 by human rights activist Jamila Afghani, who continues to serve as the Section’s President. Working with women, men, and young people to advance women’s rights, promote peace-building efforts, and pursue environmental initiatives, in just a few short years the Section has grown to include over 10,000 members – nearly a third of whom are men.  

"We want coherence, not chaos"
Jamilia Afghani Portrait

Jamila Afghani​

Jamila Afghani is a women’s rights and human rights activist from Afghanistan. She is the founder and President of the Afghan chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom 1 (WILPF) and a member of its International Board. For over 25 years, Jamila has been championing women and girls’ rights against discrimination, the rights of persons with disabilities and non-violent conflict resolution. She is the founder of the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization2 (NECDO) which works for Afghan women’s empowerment and political role, which has supported the education of 50,000 women in Afghanistan. She is the former Executive Director of Medica Afghanistan, an organization which provides Psychosocial and legal support for victims of gender-based violence.

Jamila is a well-known peace-builder who fights for women’s effective participation in peace and political processes3. In July 2019, she was part of an 11-women delegation at the intra-Afghan peace dialogue in Doha sponsored by Qatar and Germany4 and briefed the UN Security Council on the need for women’s effective participation in political processes on Afghanistan.

She has been critical of the Taliban’s use of violence and perversion of Islamic practice and beliefs to challenge women’s rights. To that end, she has mobilized thousands of women and men in Afghanistan, including 6,000 imams in 22 provinces5. Since 2019, she has been facilitating the work a group of Afghan Women Scholars and has established a research center which promotes a moderate narrative of women’s rights from an Islamic perspective. She has hundreds of followers inside and outside Afghanistan and is working with WISE on Muslim Women’s Rights Global Rights Declaration6.

Jamila received the Award of Women of Courage from the USA embassy in Kabul7 on December 2019. She is also the recipient of the Religious Peacemaker Award from Tanenbaum organization in 20108, the Global Leadership Award from Tallberg Foundation9 in 2015 and the Humanitarian Award10 from Aurora in 2017.

Jamila was evacuated from Afghanistan in August 2021. She is now based in Norway, where she continues to advocate for women’s rights under the Taliban and for gender equality and social justice. She is a member of the Afghan Women Leaders in Exile, a group of activists working to bring the voices of Afghan women living under the Taliban to the rest of the world. Her current work is geared towards mobilizing support for the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan and safeguarding the country’s decades-old women’s rights movement, and securing a role for Afghan women in all Afghanistan-related processes.

  1. https://www.wilpf.org/our-members/
  2. http://necdo.org.af
  3. Article, National Geographic magazine, June 2020
  4. News, Aljazeera.com, July 2019
  5. https://www.wisemuslimwomen.org/muslim-woman/jamila-afghani-2/
  6. www.wise.org
  7. On #HumanRightsDay, Assistant Chief of… – U.S. Embassy Kabul
  8. https://tanenbaum.org
  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E5qQDu0Jvc
  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9ndOxWWRJ0

 

Media Requests

If you have a media inquiry to make about our efforts for sustainable peace in Afghanistan, please contact Nina Hansen, our Communications Manager: nina.hansen@wilpf.org.

Be sure to include your name, the media outlet you work for, and a clear subject line for better processing of your request.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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