Who is Fawzia Koofi? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Who is Fawzia Koofi?

Fawzia Koofi shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating with the Taliban in Doha and the most recent attack she faced. Her nomination for the Nobel peace prize, which was disclosed by a Norwegian peace council list of frontrunners.

Her recognition for all Afghan women fighting to be included in the reconciliation process, and to have a place at the table.

Afghan’s women’s rights activist Fawzia Koofi’s, who is the member of the negotiating team that hold peace talks with the Taliban, she has been wounded in a gun attract near Kabul.

According to officials, Koofi’s and her sister on 14th august was returning from a meeting in the province of Parwan near the capital, few gunmen opened fire in Koofi.

She is a former member of parliament and a strong critic of the Taliban. Koofi was shot in her right hand, she was in a stable condition.

In response, the Taliban denied the involvement in the attack of Koofi.

Historically women have suffered deeply during Afghanistan’s years of war, women in Afghanistan have been also fighting ferociously for equality in the years since the fall of the Taliban government and have made progress. Presently there are women ministers and governors and judges and police and soldiers and Afghanistan’s parliament has a higher percentage of women that does the US congress.

However, Afghan women’s activists have been facing resistance from the Afghan government, and lack of support from international donors – as they have been fighting for their rightful place at the negotiating table for peace talks. This exclusion, combined with the Taliban’s relentless discrimination against women and girls, increases fears that women’s rights could easily be causality of this process.

Taliban and their misogyny ideology
Taliban are recognized misogynistic. from 1996 to 2001, their regime has been very aggressive. They discard women's and girls' access to education, employment, freedom of movement, and health care, they have been subjecting them to violence including public lashing or execution by stoning to death.

Taliban commanders permitting girls to attend primary schools, typically in response to community pressure. However, the Taliban had been continuous to carry out violent attacks against girls’ schools and block women and girls from exercising many of their basic rights, and remain deeply opposed to gender equality.
Taliban leader said

the Taliban leader wrote, we together will find a way to build an Islamic system in which all afghans have equal rights, where the rights of women that granted by Islamic culture – from the right to education to right to work – are protected” –
He claimed that from 1996 to 2001 the Taliban also argued that women were enjoying all rights “granted by Islam”.

Insufficient Afghan Government
The attack on Koofi brought strong condemnation from Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani – who described it as a: cowardly attack”, in recent months, there have been several attacks against human rights activists and prosecutors in Kabul. Ms. Koofi survived a bid on her life in 2010 when gunmen fired at her as she was returning to the capital after an international women’s Day event. She was among the few women in a pan-Afghan delegation that held several rounds of unofficial dialogue with the Taliban in 2019.
The Afghan government has been a very unreliable supporter when it’s about women's rights. Sometimes even an enemy of women’s rights.

The Afghani administration of both afghan president Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani have frequently brushed aside women’s rights. Both have mostly rebuffed activists’ demands for women to have complete participation in the peace of process, as provided under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

Several foreign donors have been more willing to engage in photo ops and grant agreements than to expend political capital to press for Afghan women to be in the room, at the table, during negotiations.

There has been a lack of clarity about the into-afghan talks and the designated negotiators have further heightened fears about the implications for women’s rights.

A few years back it was common to hear Afghan feminists argue that there should be no negotiation with Taliban- a group that refused to recognize women’s full humanity. And many women’s rights activists have mostly accepted that there is no path to peace in Afghanistan but through negotiations with the Taliban.

About Fawzia Koofi
She is a widow and mother of two daughters, was the first girl in her family to attend school. She was born into a polygamous family of seven women. She was first rejected by her parents because of her gender. Her father, a member of parliament, had married a younger woman, and her mother sought to have a son to maintain her husband’s affection.

The day Koofi was born, she was left out to die in the sun. Somehow she managed to persuade her parents to send her to school, making her the only girl in the family to attend school.

Then she graduated from university with a master’s degree in business and management.
Koofi wanted to become a physician, by chose to study political science and become a member of UNICEF. She worked closely with vulnerable groups such as internally displaced people and marginalized women and children, and served as a child protection officer for the organization from 2002 to 2004.

She was married to a man named Hamid, an engineer and chemistry teacher. Her marriage was arranged, but she did not disapprove of her family’s choice. Ten days after their wedding. Taliban soldiers arrested her husband and he was imprisoned. In prison, he contracted tuberculosis and died shortly after his release in 2003.

Koofi’s women rights engagement
She has been recognized to defend women’s rights in Afghanistan. Many of the key women’s initiatives that she has championed during her tenure as an MP include the improvement of women’s living conditions in Afghan; the establishment of a commission to combat the issue of violence (especially sexual violence) against children; and the amendment of the Shia personal status law.

She has also promoted education for women and children by advocating for access to good schools and creating opportunities for non-formal education for her constituents in Badakshan province. While serving as deputy speaker in 2005, Ms. Koofi raised private funding for the construction of girl's schools in remote provinces. In 2009, she was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

She had also visited students who are victims of the Taliban and encourage them to continue their education.

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