Willing to embrace Taliban for sake of peace, says war-disabled Hafiz

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“Despite my disability is caused by the fighting, I will still embrace and hug the Taliban fighters just for the sake of peace in our country,” Hafizullah, a war-handicapped resident of Balkh province told OrbandNews. 


BALKH: Fed-up with no let-down in the ongoing conflict, the people of northern Balkh province have buried a symbolic war coffin, sending a message to the warring sides that the Afghan masses are tired of incessant bloodshed.


Since the start of the intra-Afghan talks in Doha, residents of several parts of the country during gatherings and conferences have called on the Taliban and the Afghan government to end the war and bring peace to the country.


One of these programs was burying a symbolic war coffin by civil society activists, Islamic scholars, youths and culturists in a rally organized in Mazar-e-Sharif city, capital of Balkh province, to send a message to the warring sides that people were tired of conflict in the country.


The rally buried the coffin in the Rawza area of the provincial capital on Wednesday and prayed for the return of peace and end to the mire in Afghanistan.


Several youths burying the coffin chanted slogans in support of peace and against the war. They asked the two sides to end the ongoing conflict which claimed the lives of a large number of people on a daily basis, a misery, they said, that was no longer tolerable.


Sayed Matin Sadat, an organizer of the rally, said that the Afghan people could no longer bear the unabated bloodshed and war in their country and they had a united call for peace – which should be paid serious attention.


Sadat is optimistic about the peace talks in Qatar but stressed that calls and claims about bringing peace should be turned into reality.


Mulavi Abdul Ahad, an Islamic scholar in Balkh, also emphasized on an end to war and said that unnecessary war and killing of civilians were against Islamic teachings.


Talking to the Afghan and Taliban negotiators, he stressed that the two parties should not destroy the peace process for their own advantages and leverages but they should rather work honestly for ensuring peace.


He believed that peace in the country could ensure the growth of society.


Hafizullah, a resident of Balkh province, who has been rendered disabled by the ongoing war, said that many people including himself were affected by the ongoing war in the country.


“Despite my disability is caused by the fighting, I will still embrace and hug the Taliban fighters just for the sake of peace in our country.”


Matiullah, another man who lost his legs in conflict, said that he would sacrifice his life if it could help bring peace to the war-devastated Afghanistan. The conflict shouldn’t be allowed to continue any longer as it orphaned a myriad of children and widowed many women, he maintained.


On the other hand, women say that peace without their presence in the process wouldn’t be meaningful.


Palwasha Achakzai, a women’s rights activist in Balkh province, said that women had a special role in society and important processes such as peace; therefore, ignoring them in such crucial decisions would have negative consequences.


Sajida Omari, another woman from the province, said that peace was one of the country’s fundamental needs and women should be given a chance in playing their part in the process.


She also asked the Taliban and the Afghan government to cease war and work wholeheartedly for a real peace which, she said, was the unanimous demand of all Afghans.


The rally also read a resolution letter, in which the participants demanded the warring sides to put an end to war, declare a ceasefire, ensure real peace in the country, as well as facilitate public participation in ongoing peace parleys.


This comes as the republican and Taliban negotiators are engaged in the intra-Afghan talks in Qatar while conflict inside the country has been intensifying with each passing day, inflicting huge casualties on both sides, as well as the civilians.


Nearly a month has passed since the launch of the negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan officials but no breakthrough has so far been made. This is while the US envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation and the Afghan president have recently visited the negotiators following spats over some sticky points in the initial steps – that move also hasn’t brought about tangible results yet.


The Afghan public has widely raised their voices for a ceasefire from the warring sides but to no avail; their calls are being ignored by both sides of the conflict.