Afghan women lead cause for peace, U.N. says

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A committee of women in Afghanistan began a petition drive calling for a nationwide end to a decades-long state of conflict, the U.N. mission in Kabul said.

The Women's Committee within the Afghan High Peace Council is trying to get 300,000 signatures for peace, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported Thursday


"To end the current bloodshed and establish nationwide peace and unity, we call on the government, armed opposition groups and the international community to participate in peace talks and urge the conflicting parties to declare a cease-fire and to reach peace," the committee's petition says.

With Afghan forces taking on more responsibility for their nation's security, international forces that helped overthrow the Taliban-led government in 2001 are ending combat operations this year.

The women's campaign runs through Feb. 19.

Jan Kubis, U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, said Wednesday the role of women in political processes is a benchmark of democratic success in the country.

Presidential and provincial council elections are scheduled in April. There are no women running for president but more than 10 percent of the 2,700 candidates for provincial council are women.


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