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Editorial; Fasting for peace

A large number of Lashkargah residents started hunger strike in a desperate call for peace between the government and the Taliban group, demanding ceasefire instantly. At first, tens of women and men in southern Helmand province set up a sit-camp following a brazen car bombing outside a sports facility in the provincial capital, in which innocent people were martyred and wounded—the sit-in evolved into a hunger strike on Thursday. They went to hunger strike after their quest for a ceasefire had been overlooked. Some of the hunger strikers have lost consciousness and have been hospitalized. Two hunger strikers were hospitalized on Friday, and five others on Saturday. Their health condition reported out of danger. The sole aim behind their hunger strike is to put a halt to the ongoing violence in the country that has been taking a huge toll on the civilian population. Still 30 hanger strikers are in the camp and firmly continue their strike until peace prevails. According to the organizers of the sit-in, three days ago high-ranking provincial security officials visited the camp, showing readiness to talk with the Taliban anywhere in the province without any precondition. They are fasting for peace, but the Taliban insurgents, as usual not responded to the peace call so far. They (Taliban) only issued a statement previously—there was nothing about peace and nothing was about ceasefire. Indeed addressing the root causes and drivers of conflict is a long-term and complex task—for those living with conflict first and foremost, but also for those supporting people working for peace. But, the Taliban case is too different. They have people’s support. The Afghan masses despite the Taliban martyred and wounded their dearest and nearest one—for the sack of peace—they ignore all the brutality of the Taliban insurgents, and want them to join the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation. This is only for peace. Surely, conflicts have multiple drivers, and this is our responsibility to find it. The peace building does not have a natural home does not mean it should not have a central place in our responses to some of today’s global challenges. When the Afghan government and the people are ready to have peace talks with you (Taliban), than there is no problem. All the conflict parties must realize that we are far from race of development a current modern world. This is because ongoing violence flamed by the Taliban insurgents that the government can’t meet other demands of the people, and the country can’t see the path of development. Afghanistan is stuck with so many problems, and this Taliban’s obligation as well to come up to the fore and help resolving issues coordinately and jointly with the government. Once the Taliban reintegrated into civil society, the biggest problem of our country would be resolved. The rest would not take a year to put it on truck. Seen in economic terms, the impact of ongoing war is also huge, besides continuation of brain drain. Peace building approach, including mediation and diplomacy, dialogue and participation, are an essential part of the toolkit we need to meet current challenges, and promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. If the Taliban insurgents really love Afghanistan and willing to do something for the welfare of the country—nothing would be incredible as to shun violence. Ending war means development of Afghanistan.

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