A large group of religious scholars from across Afghanistan held a gathering on Monday and made strong demands that the Afghan government and the Taliban agree to a ceasefire, make efforts for peace and stop the violence that “brings destruction and killings” to the people and the country.
The scholars said that religious clerics and politicians from Pakistan are involved in Afghanistan’s war.
Citing the unprecedented increase in violence, widespread displacement of civilians, and the damage to infrastructure in some provinces, the scholars said there is an urgent need to end the bloodshed, calling the ongoing war "forbidden" by Islam and decrying the conflict as it is killing Afghans.
“Let’s be part of an effort to end the suffering of the people,” said Jamaluddin Fayiq, a religious scholar.
“The religious scholars ask the warring parties to support peace and end ongoing problems through negotiations,” said Jalaluddin Hanafi, a religious scholar.
The clerics said Afghans will stand against the Taliban if the group refuses to join peace. They also called on the government to avoid creating obstacles in the way of peace.
“Neither the republic nor the emirate is holy, but the only way out for us is through the teachings of the Quran,” said Mohammad Sarwar Omari, the head of the secretariat of the religious scholars' council.
Other scholars emphasized that neither the republic nor an emirate can end people’s problems.
“Pakistani religious scholars and its government are interfering in our country,” said Hisamuddin Hisam, head of the religious scholars' council.
They blamed the government for failing to prevent targeted attacks against religious scholars.
“The arrest of religious scholars should stop, the targeted killing of religious scholars should stop, and our demand from the Taliban is to agree to a ceasefire,” said Abdul Qadir Qanit, head of the Kabul religious scholars' council.
“We and you journalists are martyred together. The reason might be that you are raising the people’s voice and freedom of speech and religious scholars, too, are raising the people’s voice,” said Mohammad Monir, a religious scholar from Baghlan.
The call by the religious scholars comes as the country observed a short-term ceasefire in April and it was expected to have another ceasefire this Eid, which is celebrated this week. As of Monday evening, no announcements have been made.
This comes as Abdullah Abdullah, head of the reconciliation council, in a message of peace said no excuse remains for the continuation of violence as international forces are leaving.
Abdullah said the continuation of violence, bloodshed and the destruction of infrastructure, public assets and the Afghan people’s achievements is a stance against the development and honor of Afghanistan.
He added that "the last opportunities remain" for a political settlement and an enduring peace and that the people of Afghanistan are expecting the peace negotiations to be expedited so the opportunity is not missed.