AT News Report
KABUL: In wake of ongoing peace efforts, and refusal of Taliban insurgent to lay down their arms, a number of residents from Helmand province took out to the streets to give vent to their anger over what they call dismissal of ceasefire by Taliban group.
The protestors including religious scholars, tribal elders and activists at a gathering in Lashkargah, the provincial capital city, calling on the two sides to announce a ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadhan which kicked off Monday.
“To respect the holy month of Ramadhan, we urge both sides (the Afghan government and the Taliban) to announce a ceasefire in order to provide the ground for peace talks,” Nazar Mohammad Rodi, a civil society activist in Helmand was quoted by TOLONews, as saying. “Forty years of war has badly affected our county. It is enough now.”
“Those who have gathered here are seeking peace. We call on the warring parties to announce a ceasefire,” said Abdul Khaliq Zwakman, an activist.
Religious scholars at the gathering said the current war is not in favor or any side.
“In the holy month of Ramadhan, the doors of heaven are open and the doors of hell are closed; therefore, they (the Taliban) must stop the war and should join their families,” said Jannat Gul, a religious scholar.
“Stop killing of the poor nation and the bloodshed. We do not want to see the bloodshed anymore,” said Abdul Bashir, a religious scholar from Helmand.
Abdul Haq, a Helmand resident who lost his two sons in a roadside mine blast in the province last year, said Afghans are really tired of war.
“Last year, I lost my two sons in a roadside mine blast in Shawal area when they were on their way to work. The area was under Taliban influence. I am ready to forgive those who killed my sons if the Taliban and the government forces lay down their weapons,” he said.
“We want ceasefire and peace. We do not want brother killing. We call on the Afghan government and the Taliban to declare a ceasefire in Ramadhan,” said Jalaluddin, a Helmand resident.
Meanwhile, the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto in a message on the occasion of Ramadhan extended his warmest wishes to all Afghans and called on all parties to the conflict to halt the fighting.
Taliban even did not agree over resolution come out from Consultative Loya Jirga for Peace, where 3,200 delegates, 30 percent of them women, last week concluded their grand assembly and called on Afghan government and the Taliban group to agree for a comprehensive ceasefire beginning from first day of Ramadan.
Taliban has said that their “Jihad” will have more rewards during Ramadhan as they rejected the ceasefire suggestion, and furthermore termed the Jirga symbolic and failure.
This comes as many Afghan politicians and twelve electoral tickets boycotted Jirga, where they say it is nothing but an electoral campaign for President Ghani.
Moreover, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah who has equal share in national unity government, recently said Jirga had nothing new, and did not see any justifiable reason to had participation in it.