By Humaira Rasuli & Natasha Latiff
We have been fighting for years to secure equal participation in the future of our country.
We have made immense progress against the toughest of odds.
As Afghanistan battles to bring peace and end war, we call upon everyone to pay attention to the more insidious violence which is happening at a much larger scale than terrorism: violence against women. Women and girls in Afghanistan continue to face extreme forms of violence and discrimination. Two-thirds of adolescent girls are still not in school simply because they are too afraid to be targeted. High-profile women and women face harassment, threats, and even murder - just by being in the public.
Ending the war is not just about ending insurgencies but ending all forms of violence. The end of violence against women is part of peace.
This year, we are celebrating for the 18th time, the 8th of March celebrations. It feels different this year as talks with the Taliban are ongoing. Then again, this should be a time that we as women revive with energy. We must believe that our country’s future is in our hands. We must demand our side of the bargain with renewed vigor.
This is a time, like no other, for solidarity and movement-building. We have to work hard for the next generation.
We call upon all women, civil society organizations, government institutions which are commissioned to work for women, and the international community to work together systematically. Let's not waste any small opportunity.
Every small opportunity is an important opportunity for the movement.
We are now in the middle of very important political developments as peace talks with the Taliban unfold. We should not be negligent or we would end up risking the gains which we have tirelessly fought for.
It is therefore vital for the international community to finally demonstrate cohesion and decisiveness in their stand towards women in the peace process.
Since 2001, you have repeatedly used the liberation of Afghan women to anchor your policies and presence in Afghanistan.
The time is now to live up to your values.