Afghanistan After 2014: The Impact of Troop Withdrawal
on Democracy, Stability, and Women's Rights

Fawzia Koofi, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan
Photos | Transcript


Washington, DC— On February 11, 2013, Fawzia Koofi, Member of the Afghan Parliament and Vice President of the National Assembly, addressed WFPG members and guests on the impact of the 2014 troop withdrawal on Afghan society. Her remarks highlighted some of the challenges she faces as a woman in the government, despite the positive changes that have taken place with regards to women’s issues over the last 11 years. She emphasized the importance of the United States’ role in Afghanistan, both today and in the future as the US prepares to leave the country in the hands of the Afghan government. The discussion was moderated by WFPG President Patricia Ellis.

Koofi gave a brief background of Afghanistan’s history and asserted that, despite the country’s tumultuous past, there have been many societal changes resulting from the efforts of the Afghan people. She noted that the women of Afghanistan have made great strides in achieving basic human rights and access to education since President Karzai came to power in 2001, and how essential it is that these gains be protected after the withdrawal. Koofi mentioned the recent talks about setting up meetings with President Karzai, the Taliban, and other foreign leaders, and stressed that there need to be limits as to what subjects can be brought to the table. Although the people of Afghanistan and the rest of the world want peace, these leaders must ensure that basic human rights and women’s rights are not compromised in the process. The women of Afghanistan have a right to these basic protections and, more broadly, a right to safety and security. Koofi suggested that one of the best ways to guarantee this is to encourage female leaders and to make space for women within the highest leadership positions in the government.

On the upcoming elections in 2014, Koofi noted how important they are to the people of Afghanistan, and how she hopes that they will result in a “strong, committed government” that takes care of its citizens. Koofi, also a declared presidential candidate, mentioned that one of the ways that she would pursue this is by continuing to prioritize the preservation of women’s rights. Because it is a very important year for Afghanistan politically, Koofi sees the 2014 US troop withdrawal as premature and unrealistic. To ensure that elections are legitimate and accessible to both men and women, Afghanistan needs to increase its number of polling stations, educate the public on voting rights, and make sure there are enough ballots—none of which will occur without assistance from other countries.

Koofi also discussed the region and how Afghanistan’s neighboring countries have already started reshaping their policies in preparation for the withdrawal. Knowing how history has played out with Afghanistan’s neighboring countries in the past, she stressed the importance of having constructive partnerships with them. She also mentioned India’s cultural influence on Afghanistan but stressed the fact that India needs to get more involved in helping rebuild the country. Koofi recognizes that Afghanistan is geo-strategically located with an abundance of natural resources, and wants it to be considered an investment partner instead of merely the recipient of foreign aid. Another goal of her presidential campaign is to combat the image of the country as a stronghold for the Taliban—a place of terrorism and war—and to raise a different face of the Afghan people to the world.


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Afghani Member of Parliament Fawzia Koofi with
WFPG President Patricia Ellis

  Fawzia Koofi with Patricia Ellis, Ambassador Claudia
Fritsche, and WFPG Board member Diana Negroponte

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Deborah Lyons, Deputy Chief of Mission
of the Embassy of Canada


Rosa Djalal, wife of the Indonesian Ambassador

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WFPG Board member Diana Negroponte and
Ambassador Claudia Fritsche of Liechtenstein
  Patricia Ellis, Fawzia Koofi, and Rosa Djalal

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