Want US out, Taliban okay: Afghan women senators

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 14:29 hrs

New Delhi: Women senators from Afghanistan have said they wanted US troops out of their country and would not mind having the Taliban in the government so long as they respected the constitution.

"We want the US out of Afghanistan, but as far as Taliban is concerned, any one who is a resident of Afghanistan can be a part of the government, if they respect the constitution and women's rights," said Tayeba Zahidi, member of the upper house of Afghanistan, during an interaction with Indian journalists at the Indian Women's Press Corps.

US President Barack Obama has vowed that by the end of 2014, the US war in Afghanistan would end, and US troops would be pulled out.

Senators from Afghanistan's upper house are in India to participate in a training programme organised by the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training here.

The senators said the incidents of the last few decades in Afghanistan have affected women, who have fought back and are emerging into their own again.

"In past 35 years, lots of incidents have occurred which have affected women. But Afghan women have fought back. Our parliament and legal structure is fighting to rid society of violence and make things safe for women," Sediqua Balbhi, another member of Afghanistan's upper house said.

The women said more and more women are now gaining an education in Afghanistan.

"Education plays an important role in empowering women. More and more girls are now being enrolled in schools, completing college and also doing PhD degrees," said Najiba Hussaini.

Women were barred from education and work during the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, which started in 1996 and ended Dec 2001.

The house of elders or Mesherano Jirga is the the upper house of the bicameral National Assembly of Afghanistan. The lower house, the house of people, is called Wolesi Jirga.

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