Taliban urged to set commencing date for peace talks


GHAZNI: Inhabitants of southern Ghazni province on Wednesday called upon the Taliban to set a date for the launch of intra-Afghan talks so that the raging war was brought to an end.

Civil society activists, youths and women made the call at a press conference on Wednesday while voicing their concern over the government delegation for peace talks because it was made up of political parties and factions alone.

They said as the victims of the ongoing war were young people, this class of the society should be facilitated to actively partake in the peace talks.

The participants also demanded that the achievements of the last 20 years, such as in terms of women’s rights, should be preserved and attention should be paid to the freedom of speech. “The Taliban ought to accept the Afghan Constitution and the current system.”

Praising the sacrifices made by Afghan soldiers, they said that Afghan forces had largely fought the enemies of peace and security.

Activist Aminullah Bahar said “We are afraid that we might retrograde to the dark past. Freedom of speech and women’s rights must be protected.”

As all the prisoners had been released, he asked why didn’t the Taliban enter into Afghan talks? Skeptical of the Taliban’s position, he considered it all as a political game.

Another participant, Zia-ur-Rehman Rashidi, said: “Peace is our hope but not such a peace that will ruin and trample on our achievements. Both the Taliban and the government should work to strengthen the current system and past gains must be preserved.”

Sayed Ali Sajjadi read out the conference’s resolution letter, which called for greater participation of the youth in national issues, intra-Afghan talks and the appointed negotiating team.

Nahida urged all parties into the conflict to make peace, criticizing the contradictory fact of escalation in violence simultaneously with the peace talks. “We think we are at the threshold of another war. Unless there is a lasting ceasefire observed, we cannot pin hopes on the peace talks.”