Press Release

October 30, 2020
Cardin, Senate Colleagues Call to Trump Urging President to Make Women’s Inclusion in Afghan Peace Negotiations a Foreign Policy Priority

WASHINGTON – Ahead of tomorrow’s 20th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Security Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined a group of Senators in sending a letter to President Donald Trump underscoring the critical importance of ensuring women’s participation in the ongoing Afghan peace negotiations. The UNSCR resolution, which was adopted on October 31, 2000, reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict recovery. It also stresses the importance of women’s full involvement in all efforts to maintain and promote peace and security.

The Senators wrote, “It is in recognition of this important anniversary that we write to you today, calling on you to ensure that women play an active role in the intra-Afghan peace negotiations and to make clear to all parties that the U.S. government expects the Afghan and Taliban leaders to preserve and promote the rights of women and girls during and following a negotiated peace agreement…The relationship between women, peace and security is irrefutable. Decades of data support the fact that there is a direct correlation between the rights and empowerment of women and a country’s stability and ability to avoid future conflict.  We know that women’s participation in peace negotiations increases the likelihood of their success, their involvement in post-conflict recovery lowers the risk of relapsed conflict, and that gender inequality increases the risk of terrorism and instability. 

The lawmakers underscored that the message of women’s inclusion in Afghan peace talk aligns with the commitments the U.S. government made when the Women, Peace and Security Act was signed into law in 2017.

In closing, the Senators highlighted an open letter published last month that was signed by 26 former presidents and prime ministers, and 34 foreign ministers—including former U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry— that affirmed that women’s participation in the peace negotiations are crucial in the pursuit of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. The Senators also included a list of policy recommendations that would boost U.S. efforts to uphold the UNSCR 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security Act, as intended.

They signed their letter, “The lives and opportunities of half of Afghanistan’s population, and the sacrifice that U.S. and allied servicemembers have made in Afghanistan, are too important to not prioritize women and girls’ rights and leadership in a future Afghanistan. It is not enough to simply state that this is best left to the two parties in the intra-Afghan peace process. The United States can and should ensure that women are substantively involved in the peace process and that their rights are preserved moving forward.”

The letter – which is also signed by U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) – can be read in full here.