The Pakistan-Afghan Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PAWFPD) was established in 2012 to enhance cross-border cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This initiative engages and empowers women from both countries to participate in processes that help to build peace in the region. In October 2015, the United Nations Security Council convened a High-level Review to assess 15 years of progress at the global, regional and national levels on resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Through the Afghanistan- Pakistan Women Policy Brief, PAWFPD will build on the review of this document and utilize it as an opportunity to gather women’s perspectives on solutions to security issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The policy brief will seek to assist decision-makers navigate similar security issues facing Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as provide guidance to the respective governments. Since 2001, militancy and terrorism have grown in Afghanistan and Pakistan destabilizing all socio-political and economic efforts at bringing stability and prosperity to both countries and the region. To prevent the rise in escalation of violence and ultimately bring an end to the conflict, the Afghan government launched a peace process engaging the Taliban in 2010. In Pakistan, talks with Taliban militants in 2014 failed because of intransigent attitudes and unacceptable demands by the latter. The military then launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb in June 2014, mostly targeting militant hideouts in North Waziristan. As a reaction, the militants attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar, claiming the lives of 144 school-children. This gruesome attack galvanized the civilian-military leadership and, as a result, the counter-terror National Action Plan with preemptive, prevention and punitive elements were adopted. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are trying to bring forth a political solution in tandem with military efforts in tackling terrorism and bringing peace to the border region. Though the processes in each country differ in framework, the objectives are the same as are some of the actors. However, a crucial element missing is the lack of women’s voices in the design and implementation of the policies. The policy brief need not be centered on the question of how to increase women’s voices in peace processes. Rather, by ensuring that women are the authors of the Policy Brief, it automatically gives women in both countries a credible and effective platform to express their views on exactly how the Afghan and Pakistan processes should be implemented to yield greater success. By following this framework, PAWFPD has achieved:
- A joint policy brief that illustrates lessons learned and best practices in building peace for both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- The inclusion of women’s perspectives and analysis in the Afghan Peace Process and the National Action Plan.