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Editorial: Good start

The second largest militant group, Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), on Saturday assured Afghan people and the government that it would respect women’s rights after reconciliation. The Gulbuddin Hekmatyar-led party also vowed it would not compromise on the achievements made over past 14 years. The party which is not far from reaching a deal with the Afghan government had asked Kabul leadership to keep Iran and Pakistan away from the peace process. The HIA has promised of empowering women while terming the current status of women a symbolic one, saying that women still has less involvement in social activities. Hezb-e-Islami also emphasized on increased role of women in the government. The party pledged to take measures to increase participation of women in the decision-making promises and provide them more opportunities for growth.

The HIA’s delegation is in Kabul since late March to discuss modalities and technicalities. The talks are going in the right track as Hezb-e-Islami has decreased armed attacks in the country as a goodwill gesture and condemned killing of innocent people. The most important achievement for the High Peace Council is that the party asked it to keep neighboring countries at bay. The sense that the conflict should be settled by Afghans without foreign interference is a promising start. Many experiments were carried out in the past four years. That’s why peace remained elusive.

Moreover, participation of the HIA will encourage other militant groups to renounce violence and directly negotiate with the Afghan authorities in an open environment. This will not only boost the peace process but would be more credible for the people who suffered a lot during the 36 years of violence. Only Afghan government can meet demands of the dissidents. The government is also in a better position to provide guarantors. The most important benefit that the militant groups can avail is best venue for talks with improved security. Afghan security officials are providing foolproof security to the HIA delegation in order to avoid any untoward situation. Anti-Afghanistan elements hatch conspiracies to derail the process when peace talks gain momentum. Thus, tight security measures are essential to protect the delegates.

As the time is ripe for the Taliban and other militant groups to sit at the negotiations table, therefore, these organizations should not waste time. They shall realize that foreign interference in the country had prevented Afghan people from becoming a developed nation. The conflict had not only killed and injured thousands of people but also made hundreds of thousands homeless in their own country. Many were forced to leave the country. It is better to find solution through mutual consensus rather than resorting to violence.

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