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Editorial: Afghans want peace

Agreement between the United States and the Taliban represents a milestone in the war that began with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan following 9/11. This paved the way for direct talks between the Afghan and Taliban peace negotiators. However, the agreement is not actually a peace deal; rather it is a chance to get one. Now comes the hard part which is the intra-Afghan talks. Agreeing on future political understanding, including power-sharing, constitutional arrangements with the tag on of women’s and civil rights protections as well as consensus on a permanent ceasefire is not a simple issue to come to terms with. Both sides might have held different opinions and see it in their own way, making thorns to iron out or at least to accept each other’s ideas or views for the sake of peace to be restored in the country. So far, it seems they have only reached agreement on the rules and producers to officially kick start the intra-Afghan talks. To what extent the Taliban are committed to pursue the peace process and ready for a compromise necessary to achieve that one, is still uncertain. Same applies here; the current Afghan government under leadership of the President Ashraf Ghani must also stand ready for any sorts of compromise. Releasing over 5,000 Taliban prisoners is considered as such, however much more needed from both sides (Afghan and Taliban). A recent survey showed that 57 Afghans are optimistic about the ongoing peace talks. This survey is not complete, many rural areas could likely be left behind as their mindsets are not taken in the survey, otherwise, over 90 percent would have come up to the fore in full support of the ongoing peace process. The war-hit Afghans want peace only a dignified peace. They suffered a lot in the past 40 years of conflict. They are really fed up of becoming scapegoats for the dirty politics of any side (Afghan and Taliban) just to gain more leverages to the peace talks. In immediate move, killing of civilians in different forms of violence must be stopped. The Taliban must agree on a ceasefire, and Afghan government must agree on some rational demands of the Taliban in order to move the talks forward with aim to end the current bloodbath. Peace is considered as primary needs and everyone, including the high-profile of Afghan leaders who are out inside the government body, should play their key role in establishing durable peace. The Afghan people are willing for an agreement that sets the country on the path to an inclusive society, enjoying peace, prosperity, stability – in peace with itself and with its neighbors.

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