BERLIN, Germany -- The rights of women constitute an "absolute red line" for the Afghan government in peace negotiations with the Taliban, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said.
"There will be no restrictions on girls' schooling -- we shall not sacrifice what we have been building for 18 years," Rabbani told the Bild daily newspaper Tuesday (March 26), voicing strong support for the peace talks in Qatar.
"Negotiation is the only way to end this conflict and these problems," he said.
The talks are not "about re-establishing the Taliban regime in the country", emphasised Rabbani.
Not giving in
"Let's be clear -- when we talk of peace, that does not mean we are giving in," he said.
"If we have peace, stability and foreign investment in this country, then people will not want to leave Afghanistan for Germany," he added. "They will stay put. That is why the peace process is so important."
During the most recent session of the talks, which ended March 16 in Doha, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said that "progress is being made" but that much remained to be done.
Germany, which has a military presence in Afghanistan, could host a third session of peace talks, Rabbani told Bild.
"As the minister [German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas] said recently, Germany is ready to welcome peace talks," he said. "The Afghan government appreciates that. When the moment comes, we shall address ourselves to our German friends."