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UN special envoy hears views of Afghan women on their country's future

UN special envoy hears views of Afghan women on their country's future

The United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, today met with a group of Afghan women in Pakistan to hear their views about the future of their country.

According to Eric Falt, Director of the UN Information Centre in Islamabad, Mr. Brahimi met with a group of Afghan women volunteers and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers who expressed, "in a very moving way," their eagerness that peace should be achieved in their homeland, and that women's rights must be adequately asserted.

"There should be space for women's development and education in the future of Afghanistan," Mr. Falt quoted one of the women as saying. "If we can get peace, we will be able to assert our rights."

Another woman stated, "The commanders are all men and they enjoy war. Please be sure, however, that their own wives want peace," Mr. Falt said, adding that Mr. Brahimi will meet with a second group of women tomorrow.

The Special Representative also had a long working and "thought-provoking" lunch today with senior Pakistani journalists knowledgeable about Afghanistan, Mr. Falt said. Mr. Brahimi sought their views on the nature of a future UN involvement in Afghanistan, the possibility for a new power structure and tentative principles for the reconstruction of the country.

Later in an interview to BBC Radio, Mr. Brahimi addressed the concerns of Afghans who feared that the UN was shying away from its responsibilities. While reiterating his view that a traditional peacekeeping operation was probably not the proper response to the situation, Mr. Brahimi said: "I think that when the time is there, we all want to be heavily involved. We will want to send in hundreds, thousands of technicians and developers of all sorts, mainly I hope Afghans."