Introduction: Afghanistan Forum
In Afghanistan, religious conservatism and ideological fundamentalism are not just exhibited by the Taliban; rather, a large percentage of Afghans in all sectors support these views. These conservative and ideologically fundamentalist opinions on religion have affected the social dynamics of daily interactions between all groups of people, especially women. Through enabling traditional leaders, international and national religious scholars and influential officials, who have a significant role to play within Afghan society, AF-I significantly led the way in reforming these views as one of the most effective ways to bring about change. By presenting practical examples of alternatives, through religion, ways to reform current views on women ́s rights, pluralism, and tolerance, these leaders were able to influence their respective audiences. Hence a continuation of the program not only will foster positive change but also consolidate the positive power of these religious and tribal leaders across the country towards social reforms and the engagement of general public in policy debate.
The Afghanistan Forum (AF) is a CPAU-implemented national programme raising cultural tolerance, awareness and knowledge of local, provincial, national and international issues related to violent extremism across the country. AF is a two-year program implemented in 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Through a multi-pronged approach, CPAU aims to increase the awareness and acceptance of the benefits directly linked with religious and cultural pluralism and tolerance. AF-II will also continue to support the media as a medium of spreading the messages coming from the program participants and organisers. The main objectives of AF-I and now AF-II are the promotion and increased support for religious and cultural tolerance and embedding pluralism and women ́s rights in Afghanistan.