A corner of Charkh district in Logar province, over 100 kilometers south of Kabul, hosted a poetry event with local residents and the Taliban, who read poems on peace, in a gesture of hope that violence will be reduced in the country.
TOLOnews reporter Khalid Nekzad traveled to the area on Sunday. He and his colleagues were escorted by two Taliban through areas that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.
The local residents, who were apparently forbidden--or were afraid--to talk with TOLOnews on camera, said that the closure of roads to their area has deprived them of development opportunities and access to basic essentials, including health care. The residents said they hope that peace will become a reality as soon as possible.
Hundreds of Taliban members and local residents gathered in the area to attend the poetry session about peace, according to Nikzad. Members of the Taliban’s so-called "red unit" were assigned to ensure the safety of the event.
One poem by Taliban member and poet Chinar Takoor, read: “What is peace? Peace is the mole on your face. It is a shawl on respected people… Peace is hope.”
“You are talking about peace. All Muslims are in favor of peace whether it is (Taliban fighters) or ordinary people,” said Mawlawi Khalil-Ur-Rahman, Taliban’s military district governor for Charkh.
The residents said they want to live normal lives like other citizens in the country.
“There should be peace. The Taliban and the government--everyone are brothers. They should come together. Peace is in favor of the nation,” said Faridullah, a resident of Charkh district.
“We are very tired of war. Very much so. We are awaiting peace,” said Nusratullah, a resident of Charkh district.
The residents had bitter stories about their lives, but they did not express them on camera.
“One of you told me that you are giving food to the Taliban. I said okay I am feeding them. You and the Taliban are both Muslims,” said Ghulam Sarwar, a resident of Charkh.
Nikzad says the Taliban’s view on music has remained unchanged from their time in Kabul in the late 1990s. In one of their checkpoints, Nikzad said, music was played on the vehicle’s radio and one Taliban member reacted to it and said it is forbidden.
The residents said that many of them have lost their loved ones in conflicts in the district over the last years.