Helmand clerics urge negotiating sides to persist in talks


KANDAHAR: Islamic scholars in southern Helmand province have emphasized the steady pursuit of intra-Afghan negotiations and relevant efforts until peace was established.

The clerics who gathered in a meeting in Hajj and Islamic Affairs Department in Lashkargah city, the capital of Helmand province, said that both the warring parties should stop seeking their personal interests but work honestly for finding a solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Daud Modaqiq, director of Helmand Hajj and Islamic Affairs, asked for the continuation of the intra-Afghan parleys, urging the warring sides to declare a ceasefire.

“All Afghans expect is a peace agreement between the belligerent parties; we the people of Helmand also request them to reach a solution as soon as possible,” he said.

One of the Islamic scholars, Sayed Ahmad Sayed, talking to the meeting, said, “No foreigner is killed in this war; it’s civilians who suffer more than anyone. So, please agree on peace for the sake of ordinary people and their children. The public wants peace, but you do not listen to them.”

Helmand people endorsed statements of clerics, adding the government and Taliban should work for a truce.

Malak Najib, a resident of Lashkargah city, said, “They should ensure peace for us as a gift for a while we know how it feels and how life in peace looks like. I ask them why they disagree on peace when Allah and our prophet have instructed us to do so.”

Intra-Afghan talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government started about three months ago. The two sides were only able to agree on the procedural rules for talks during the whole period.

On Monday, both the teams announced that they would resume talks after a three-week break to consult for firming up the future agenda of the parleys.