October 11, 2017 —Afghanistan: NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller met with the First Lady of Afghanistan, Rula Ghani in Brussels on Wednesday (11 October 2017) for talks on challenges facing Afghan women, and how to advance their rights. Ms Gottemoeller thanked Mrs Ghani for her leadership on women’s issues, including by promoting changes to give women a greater role in the Afghan security forces.
“Empowering women is not only the right thing to do, it also helps to make countries safer and more stable”, said Ms Gottemoeller. “Only when women can pursue their ambitions and contribute equally to society can countries realize their potential. That is why NATO supports efforts by the Afghan government to empower women and girls throughout their country,” the Deputy Secretary General said. The two also discussed what more can be done to better protect women and children, who are often the victims of insurgent attacks in Afghanistan.
Ms Gottemoeller stressed that NATO is helping to empower Afghan women through practical assistance and engagement with civil society. The Deputy Secretary General cited NATO funding for the construction of women’s barracks and the Alliance’s network of gender advisors in Afghanistan as examples of how NATO supports women’s rights in the country.
The meeting comes two weeks after Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis jointly visited Afghanistan, where they reaffirmed NATO’s enduring support for the Afghan people and for the government’s reform efforts.