No country was interested in ‘Peace’: Former Afghan MP Dr Shinkai Karokhail

Bitter about Taliban’s attitude towards women and the international community leaving Afghanistan in the lurch, Dr Shinkai Karokhail spoke to Rukmini Sen from Canada on her reading of the situation

Dr Shinkai Karokhail, Former Afghan MP
Dr Shinkai Karokhail, Former Afghan MP

Rukmini Sen

Every country had its own interests in promoting conflict and not peace in Afghanistan, says Dr Shinkai Karokhail, who was thrice elected to the Afghan National Assembly, was chairperson of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Canada. Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China, she says, had an interest in perpetuating the conflict because of the US presence in Afghanistan.

Taliban is either confused or they haven’t changed at all. Instead of building an inclusive country, they are discriminating against minorities and oppressing half the population, which is us, women. The end of equal rights for women and minorities is the end of a vision and possibly the end of a country.

Prophet Mohammed’s wife was a businesswoman. Hazrat Umar made a woman the mayor of the city. If he could make a woman a mayor in the 4th-century,what is the Taliban talking about? This is not Islam but political Islam.

Dr Naim Wardak, a Taliban spokesman, recently asserted that ‘it’s not important for women to be in the cabinet. There are so many countries where women are not ministers’. Wardak clearly does not understand that it’s a woman’s right to work as an equal human being and as an equal citizen. “His justification that men can take care of women’s wellbeing is strange. Women in the cabinet will not only work for women, women’s rights or for policies that will support women but they will work to take Afghanistan forward.

I don’t know how this gentleman claims he will work for the women of Afghanistan. How can women be excluded again after 20 years when women have been cabinet members, MPs, part of the media, judiciary and the civil society. How can he claim that women shouldn’t work because it’s not an appropriate society for them to work in?

If in Pakistan a woman could become the Prime Minister, then why in Afghanistan can’t a woman be a cabinet minister? I hope they realise their historic mistake and understand that women are equal members of this country.

In Afghanistan, there are so many women who are breadwinners of the family. If you stop them from work, how will they feed their families? Who will pay the monthly bills for families where women have been fending for the family till now?

I want to know how boys’ education can be facilitated right away but for girls, they have to make arrangements. If the girl child’s education is being stopped for fear of harassment, then the boys and men doing it should be stopped and punished.

What’s the logic behind stopping the education of 4-5 million girl students who are either eligible for higher studies or school? In Islam knowledge is compulsory, not optional. Men and women have to seek knowledge and study”.

Pakistan has used everything including Islam and madrasas to control Afghanistan. Educated mothers bring up educated generations. But Pakistan seeks to destroy the coming generations in Afghanistan. Why is there a secular government in Pakistan while Pakistan promotes another kind of Shariat laws in Afghanistan?”

America should also be held responsible. When the Doha agreement was being signed, they kept the Afghanistan government out. It wasn’t our war. It wasn’t our peace process. Pakistan, which wants to exploit the natural resources of Afghanistan, secure its western border and use Afghanistan against India will turn against the Taliban once it ceases to be useful to Islamabad and the Pakistan Army. It is inevitable that Taliban would one day turn against Pakistan because in the end, the Taliban is also from Afghanistan. On the other hand, if the Taliban fail to bring about changes, it will become unpopular in its own country.

The International community used us to further their interests. They were not there to help us. They helped themselves. They put us on the front line to counter terrorism. It made us vulnerable to Pakistan’s madrasas, religious leaders and ISI.

We lost 100,000 security and defence personnel and of course civilians. The US will quite possibly rue the way it withdrew from Afghanistan. I don’t think the US will be safe. Pakistan produces terrorists. They have used the terrorists against India and Afghanistan. This has harmed us but will also harm everyone else. The US retreat from Afghanistan will motivate other terrorist outfits. Peace seems to be an unlikely prospect.

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