As peace talks between the U.S. and Taliban attempt to end the Afghanistan War, Angelina Jolie has called for support of Afghan women’s rights and more female representation in Afghan government delegations.
The Academy Award-winning actress penned an op-ed for Time on Wednesday addressing her concerns for Afghan women. Since 2012, Jolie has served as special envoy to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, embarking on more than 40 field missions to meet with refugees. She also donated $1 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the largest donation ever to the organization by a single individual.
“When the Taliban seized power in 1996, it waged a war against Afghan women. Girls’ education was banned. Women were confined to the home and denied the right to work. They were flogged, beaten, mutilated and stoned to death for supposed immorality. This is not ancient history. These are living memories for millions of Afghans,” she wrote.
Now, women make up nearly one-third of the Afghan parliament and civil service, according to Jolie. They serve as judges, lawyers, and teachers, but they still face discrimination and violence. However, Jolie asserted that women need to be included in more government leadership roles, not just on delegations regarding women’s issues.
“Women’s rights and concerns must be on the formal agenda, not relegated to side events or made the lone responsibility of female delegates,” she said.
Jolie called for the U.S. and other countries that fought beside it in the Middle East to support Afghan women and to veto any peace deal that does not protect their rights.
“Afghan women should not be left alone to defend their rights before an organization that has traditionally treated them as inferior beings,” she said.
Jolie also pointed out that Afghan women earned the right to vote in 1919, a year before the U.S. passed the 19th Amendment, and their 1960 constitution had guaranteed equal rights.
“The war in Afghanistan has been the defining foreign policy issue of our generation. After all the sacrifices made, we must seek to end the conflict on the right terms. We need a peace that is built on human rights in order for it to last.”