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  • Title
    Legislator and Women’s Rights Activist
  • Affiliation
    Afghanistan Parliament

Being one of the few women in the room is tough enough, but when Fawzia Koofi enters peace talks with the Taliban, she’s not only vastly outnumbered by men, she’s also sitting across from the militant group that imprisoned her late husband and tried to kill her at least once. The Taliban targeted her convoy in 2010, and an unidentified gunman shot her in August 2020. (The Taliban denied responsibility for the second attack.) Koofi is unintimidated. The Afghan member of Parliament, who was first elected in 2005, has been at the table with Taliban representatives since September 2020, pushing for an end to the decades-long war between Afghanistan and the Taliban without compromising democratic institutions and Afghan women’s hard-fought rights. Koofi, who previously worked as an English teacher and for Unicef, has called the U.S.’s unconditional withdrawal from Afghanistan a “moral defeat” that could jeopardize negotiations with the Taliban. But she’s determined to press on because “we know that an inclusive Afghanistan is the only path to a lasting, just peace and end to the war.”