First Lady warns of possible cuts in US and European Aid to Afghanistan, urges self-reliance by women
Rula Ghani Distressed Over Trump’s Afghan Policy Chaos
First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani on Wednesday expressed her deep concerns over a possible aid cut to Afghanistan by the United States, urging President Donald Trump’s administration to continue in partnership with Afghanistan.
She made the remarks during the National Conference on Women’s Sustainable Development for peace in Kabul.
Commenting on Trump’s speech to the U.S congress on Tuesday, Rula Ghani said Trump did not outline his policy on Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.
She reiterated her hope that Trump will maintain the US’s cooperation with Afghanistan.
She called on Afghan women not rely on foreign aid and instead concentrate their attention on their own capacities, something the first lady believes will help the Afghan women towards self-reliance.
“This morning the US president delivered a key-note speech. It was a policy speech, but he did not mention Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya once. This raised concerns in my mind about why he did not refer to these countries. All things he mentioned were positive though. Does such a policy statement by the US mean that US’s position on these countries have become negative and include a cut in aid? I hope that this will not happen, but we need to be prepared,” said Rula Ghani.
Rula Ghani said that in the view of political and economic change in the US and European countries, there is a possibility that foreign aid to Afghanistan would decline. She urged Afghans to take pre-emptive measures and to be prepared for such a challenge.
Meanwhile, Sima Samar, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has stressed the need for a broader participation of Afghan women in national politics.
She said restoring peace in Afghanistan will not be possible without the effective role of women.
Samar said currently the women in many provinces are suffering from hardships and they do not have proper access to basic health and education services.
“First, we need to increase the number of the women in politics, it is not at 50 percent now. It should be at least 45 percent, but it is not the case. We need to work more in this respect, otherwise no sustainable peace or development is possible,” said Samar.
“Restrictions are imposed on work women may do. Women are not given authority,” said Haseena Nekzad, chairwomen of the west zone.
“The number of women in Samangan government are few. They are not allowed to work in government institutions,” said Shakila Mohammadzai, chairperson Samangan Business Women Council.
Some women representatives have raised major concerns over the deprivations women in southern province of Helmand and Paktia suffer.
“There is no recognition of foe or friend in the city. The women are very concerned about it,” said Halima Sabar, women’s rights activist in Helmand.
“There is no sign of women at the leadership level in government institutions,” said Mahirah Ahmadzai, chairperson Women Network in Paktia.
Women rights activists have said the role of women in the national political sphere is weak. They calling for a broader participation by women in the national decision-making process, including politics.