Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace

Press Release


Oslo Talks Should Translate into Concrete Feminist Action for the Afghan People

The Oslo talks between Western officials and a Taliban delegation should be urgently followed by concrete action that would help alleviate the plight of Afghan women, girls, boys, and men, said Jamila Afghani of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) today 25 January 2022.
Afghan man and woman seated on a hill over a village.
Image credit: Sohaib Ghyasi
WILPF International Secretariat
25 January 2022

“The only way forward is one that includes immediate steps to address the urgent rights and needs of all Afghans, while exploring long-term solutions for the crisis in Afghanistan that puts an end to militarisation and guarantees the rights of women and minority groups, and that includes accountability for all violations,” said Afghani, President of WILPF’s Afghanistan Section, speaking from Oslo.

Violence begets more violence. WILPF calls for an end to militarisation in all its forms. 

Since the Taliban took power in August, Afghanistan has been experiencing an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis, as well as growing human rights violations and violence targeting women, minorities, and prominent individuals such as activists and former government officials.

Afghani, who was one of the representatives of civil society selected to participate in the Oslo talks with the Taliban on 23-25 January, urged the representatives of the international community to allow international aid to be handled directly by Afghan NGOs. She reminded the international community that civil society, especially women’s rights and women-led organisations, were best-placed and best equipped to advise and support humanitarian missions and negotiations, as well as other processes.

“Afghan women activists must continue to initiate and lead the way. The presence of women at the negotiating table with the Taliban in Oslo should translate into a comprehensive feminist approach to the crisis in Afghanistan, as seen by Afghan women themselves,” Afghani said.

The Oslo talks have been deeply divisive in Afghanistan and abroad, with some supporting engagement with the Taliban and others totally opposed to modes of contact with them that could be seen as legitimisation or a recognition of their power.

“I understand the pain and anger of Afghans who oppose the talks,” said Afghani. “These talks are in no way an attempt to recognise the defacto Taliban authorities. There remains a need for justice and accountability for all crime. I join the talks with the purpose of bringing the urgent needs of our people to the table.”

The full details of the talks in Oslo are yet to be made public, including whether any official agreement has been made and whether any immediate steps will be taken.

WILPF believes that progress towards peace in Afghanistan must include a feminist process where Afghan women lead the way, and the implementation of all human rights commitments are guaranteed.

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WILPF International Secretariat

In our series of blogs about Afghanistan, we are bringing new perspectives and voices to the mainstream narrative told by the media. Read the blog series or visit our webpage dedicated our work on Afghanistan.

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Melissa Torres


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


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


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. 

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

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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.

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.

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.

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