KABUL (Pajhwok): The residents of different provinces talking to Pajhwok Afghan News have expressed grave concern over the ongoing situation in the country and asked the conflicting parties to reconcile in order to protect the country from new crisis and catastrophe.
They say Afghanistan is burning in the flames of the conflict since past 40 years under different themes between different players.
Majority of foreign forces specially US forces have left Afghanistan based on the Doha Agreement and this process will be completed by September this year but fighting is underway in full swing between Afghan government and the Taliban.
Besides intense fighting, peace talks have been also ongoing from the past 10 months simultaneously but the talks proved ineffective in terms of ensuring peace in Afghanistan.
The Taliban have captured 190 districts in the past 10 months and the situation has reached a dangerous level where the government banned night movement in 31 provinces except Kabul, Nangarhar and Panjshir provinces.
Pajhwok talked to youth in different provinces regarding the ongoing fighting, insecurity, continuation of peace talks in Doha, Afghan conundrum and the future of Afghanistan.
They shared different views as some vital viewpoints are below:
- Fighting in general and the existing security situation of the country is concerning
- Peace which is the dream of every Afghan seems far away
- Taliban’s interest in fighting and government leadership adherence to power will take the situation back to the 90s
- Serious and decisive negotiations on peace are only logical way to resolve the problem
- Surge in the conflict and insecurity has disappointed people about the establishment of peace in the country
- Conflicting parties should show flexibility and reconcile so that peace could be established in Afghanistan
Public views from Kabul:
Soma Angar, a resident of capital Kabul, said: “Reaching peace, which is the dream of the people of Afghanistan, is a long way to go and may not be realized in the years to come.”
She said the current situation of the country was disappointing and added: “If our problems with our neihbours remain unresolved, other problems in the borders, custom offices, ports and tens of others inside the country may not be resolved too. The situation will remain tense and disappointing if decisive and constructive peace talks are not held.”
According to Angar, peace could be established in the country when the people of Afghanistan are united and prefer national interest over personal interest.
She stressed over the eradication of ethnic biasness, establishment of justice and asked the Taliban and government to renounce violence.
Hameedi Sediqi, Aryana Television journalist, termed the ongoing fighting in the country as ‘Pakistan-sponsored fighting’ and said; “When Taliban are confident they could win through force, they will not show interest in talks and fighting will continue. On the other hand the lack of planning on the government side, lack of national consensuses, inability of government, one man show in the government and no effective policy for fighting or peace are some of the reasons that make the future of the country uncertain.”
He believed peace may not be established until national and international pressure increases on the Taliban.
“Afghanistan may return to the 90s decade if things continue in the same way. People may not accept the Taliban pressure and will resist them.”
He told the government: “The best way for the government is to give up selfishness, to form a real internal consensus, agree to offer privilege, and to be willing to make concessions to ensure peace, and still to do the main thing, which is to solve the problem with Pakistan. And assure the country that its interests are being served in Afghanistan and assure Pakistan that the peace of Afghanistan is in the country’s interest.”
Public view from Kapesa:
FarzanaAhmadi, a resident of Kapesa province and a government employee, hoped that negotiating teams from both sides would work on vital issues and not waste time.
She stressed over ceasefire, unity, tolerance, co-existence, respect to citizen rights in the country and added: “If the talks do not yield result and the Taliban remain stick to their demands, the country’s politicians will not give up their personal interests and will not work for the good of the people, it is likely that Afghanistan will become a battlefield again and even all countries will cut ties with Afghanistan and the country will experience its bad days.”
She asked the Taliban to stop taking more privilege and being arrogant because there was no other option to establish peace apart from negotiations.
“In general, government is more responsible to protect public lives and properties. Government should show more flexibility and the president should prevent individuals who prefer their personal interest over national interest when it comes to peace and reconciliation.”
Public view from Bamyan:
Khadija Safari, head of Equality for Peace and Democracy (EPD) in Bamyan province, also expressed her concern over the current situation of the country and said, “If the situation continues like it is now and provinces fall to Taliban, it is obvious that we will have a dark future… neighboring countries and the international community should help and make a program and talk with the Taliban…”
She called for ceasefire in the country and said, “The government should make a specific agenda that can ensure a real peace in the country.”
Public view from Helmand:
Haji Matiullah Mati, a resident of Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province and head of Barus Tribal Council, said that ongoing war in the country was benefiting Iran and Pakistan and damaging Afghan forces, Taliban and Afghan civilians who lose their lives.
He said God emphasizes on peace and both (Taliban and government) would be responsible for any future consequences if they refused to embrace peace.
“Current situation of the country is very bad and both sides should exercise patience, they should show mercy on Afghan forces, Taliban and people as they are the sons of one mother who are killed,” he said.
Mati asked the government and Taliban to avoid demands which could not be implemented in the current situation and work for rescuing Afghanistan from falling into the hands of Iran and Pakistan.
Public view from Khost:
Mohammad Azim, a resident of Khost province, blamed the government for the current situation of the country and said that some government officials were against peace in Afghanistan. However, he did not provide details.
He said that the situation had worsened in the country and people were disappointed about peace.
“The situation is deteriorating in the country and there is no any plan for controlling it”, he added.
Azim stressed on creation of national consensus for peace and said the country leaders and politicians should get united and enter peace talks from a united stance.
He asked the government to focus on peace instead of war and asked the Taliban “do not kill Afghans over the directions of foreigners.”
Public view from Balkh:
Sayed Mohammad, a resident of Balkh province, said the ongoing war was only savagery for Afghans as it had created many social, economic and other problems for people while many others were leaving the country.
He said that peace talks were futile because there were no real representatives of people in negotiations but people were still hopeful for a fruitful outcome.
“If the conflict continues, it puts the future of Afghanistan at severe risk but if peace comes, the country will be developed in various areas”, he said.
Mohammad emphasized on ceasefire in the country and asked the Taliban and government to show flexibility as there was no winner of war and negotiations were the only way for solution.
Public view from Nangarhar:
NawzadullahWadir, a resident of Surkhrod district of Nangarhar province, said that Afghanistan will face a crisis if the two sides failed to reach a peace agreement.
He also asked the government and Taliban to agree on a ceasefire, work honestly for peace and prefer national interests over their personal interests.
Public view from Kandahar:
Ahmad Javid Abid, a resident of Kandahar province, said that recent violence had disappointed people and they were pessimistic about peace in the country.
People will trust peace talks if there is at least a ceasefire before the negotiations and both sides avoid causing casualties to civilians.
This comes as 117 civilians lost their lives in the war last week. The week before over 400 civilians suffered casualties across the country.
Public view from Herat:
Ahmad Hanif, the resident of Herat province, said: “I am not optimistic to peace process in Afghanistan because it is not in the interest of Afghanistan’s neighbours specially Pakistan. In addition, life in the country becoming harmful and Pakistan clearly announced war against the people of Afghanistan therefore we have not nope for peace in Afghanistan.”
According to Hanif existing situation of the country doesn’t promised better future for Afghanistan. He added Pakistan has initiated a fresh game which is Islamabad’s interference on the future of the people and Iran practically provide arms to the Taliban.
The only way to ensure peace and stability in the country was that Afghan government leadership in cooperation with international community put pressure on the Taliban and two neighbouring countries — Pakistan and Iran — to play sincere role in Afghan peace process.
Another key to peace in the country was to prefer national interest on private interest otherwise peace may not be established.