Roya Rahmani

Joshua Roberts—Reuters

Because of the fraught U.S. history in Afghanistan, the position of Afghan ambassador to Washington carries immense responsibility. So when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appointed Roya Rahmani as his country’s first female envoy to the U.S. in 2018, he wasn’t just sending a message about his government’s commitment to women’s rights at the very moment when U.S. negotiations with the Taliban threatened to unravel them, he was also entrusting his nation’s American relationship to a fierce advocate for peace on Afghan terms. Rahmani has spent her tenure arguing for Afghan inclusion in the talks that will decide her country’s future. The Taliban, she says, “are not our representatives.” Ending the war “should be decided by the people who are most affected by this process.” —Aryn Baker

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