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Oxfam Says Women Excluded From Peace Talks With Taliban

The Oxfam aid agency says Afghan woman are being excluded from efforts to negotiate peace with the Taliban and warns that hard-won rights for women could be bargained away unless more is done to include women in the peace process.

In a report released on November 24, Oxfam said it had tracked 23 rounds of peace talks since 2005 and not one Afghan woman participated in discussions between the Taliban and international negotiators.

Oxfam also said that just nine of the 70 members of the Afghan High Peace Council were woman, and that their role was largely symbolic.

It said many gains made for protecting women's rights during more than a decade of foreign intervention already had been rolled back -- making it "clear that women's rights have been a low priority."

On November 23, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters that the Taliban was in favor of including women in peace talks as well as any future government -- but only once all foreign troops have left Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP