We often speak of trading justice for peace after conflict. In Afghanistan, human rights advocates speak of women’s rights being ‘traded away’ in negotiations with the Taliban to prepare for the withdrawal of international troops in 2014. What is being ‘traded’ here, and for what purpose? If women are at the negotiating table, is it possible for them to actually ‘trade-up’ their status in a post-conflict state? There's a disconnect between diplomatic negotiations and citizens during times of deep political change like this: we don't yet know how transition is experienced ‘from below’ when diplomatic elites are making deals.