EXCLUSIVE: No going back on women's rights, says young Afghan minister; praises India's role for development in her country

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 10, 2020, 04.02 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Naheed Esar Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

WION's correspondent Sidhant Sibal talked to deputy foreign minister FM of Afghanistan where she spoke on a host of issues ranging from Taliban to women's rights in the region.

Highlighting Afghan govt's role in the advancement of women's right, Naheed Esar, 30-year-old deputy foreign minister of Afghanistan said women in Afghanistan are now in leading roles. Speaking to WION's diplomatic correspondent, Sidhant Sibal, the deputy foreign minister FM of Afghanistan lauded New Delhi's role in the country. She was forced to flee her country under Taliban rule, but after coming back she played an important role in reaching out to women especially women who suffered during Taliban rule and decades of strife. Esar is fluent in Pashto, Dari, English, and Hindi.

Also read: India welcomes preliminary results of Afghanistan presidential election

WION: How do you see India and Afghanistan relation?
Naheed Esar: The relationship between India and Afghanistan goes back to thousands of years. We share culture, we share values, we share the same morals and its a heart to heart connection between Indians and Afghans

WION: On India Afghan ties, the role you would like to see of New Delhi in future?
Naheed Esar: India has supported Afghanistan in various areas. India has committed to about $3 billion to Afghanistan and more importantly they focused on fundamental projects, fundamental areas--education, medical area, hospitals. Because we are shifting from aid-dependent country to self-reliant country, and that was one of the reasons we started out consulate general in Hyderabad to invest more in trade, economy. In 2017, we started the air corridor, 22 items were exported.

WION: You are a young minister in the Afghan govt, how are you changing Afghanistan?
Naheed Esar: Afghanistan is probably the youngest country in the world with 65% of people constituting the young generation. Especially in the past 5 years, we have a young generation in the leading position. Before that, you could not see Afghan women and young Afghan women representing their generation at the foreign ministry. I am very much grateful to the govt for believing in young generation and believing in women. 

WION: How has the role of women increased in the last 2 decades?
Naheed Esar: The biggest difference I see in women's role in the govt is there is a shift in rather a symbolic role to technocrat or proper leading position. we have women as deputy ministers in the ministry of defence, ministry of interior. we have women leading the most revenue-generating ministries. We have 25 per cent of women parliamentarians. We have 30 per cent of women staff in the government. Having given those example, I see a very bright role for Afghan women from leading position to grassroots young afghans going to universities, schools, more so than ever.

WION: How will you compare the increase in women participation from Taliban years?
Naheed Esar: In the past 18-19 years after the fall of the Taliban, we shifted from zero per cent women in the education system--in schools and universities to about 30 per cent women now. This is the biggest achievement. We have laws, Article 22 of the Afghan constitution talks about the equality of men and women. We have laws against harassments and parallel to that we have institutions implementing those laws. We have women in leading positions, and that is the biggest achievement in the past 2 decades.