Worlds Apart

‘Views about women’s rights are changing in Afghanistan’ – Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi

After forty years of war, peace and stability still seem like a far-fetched notion in Afghanistan. However, things are changing in Afghan society, including conservative views on the role of women, according to Fawzia Koofi, who is a member of the Afghan parliament and a women’s rights activist.

“The perspective of [the] people of Afghanistan is changing,” Koofi said. Although many initially saw “women’s issues as [a] foreign agenda,” now there are “a lot of positive views” on the subject. “They see that a woman who is educated can do something,” she said, while acknowledging that Afghanistan certainly lags behind much of the world in terms of women’s rights.

Some of the problems that Afghan women face “have root in our culture and tradition,” which are “difficult to change overnight.” However, “things will not reverse back to the Taliban period,” Koofi said.

Before leaving Afghanistan, the international forces must make sure “that some of these changes will be safeguarded.” Otherwise, “history will repeat itself and then we will face, perhaps, the same situation we faced after withdrawal of the Soviets from Afghanistan – a gap of civil war and the Taliban regime.”