A group of Herat youths at a gathering in Herat city, in the west of Afghanistan, said they support the ongoing peace talks in Qatar but they added that there should be intra-Afghan dialogues in order to move forward the peace process and pave the ground for a sustainable peace in the country.
Those who attended the event, said that the role of political parties should not be ignored in the peace process, referring to recent efforts by a number of mainstream political parties and movements which sent their delegates to Moscow last month to hold talks with the Taliban.
“Our understanding is that Afghans who are in the peace process, whether they are Taliban or politicians or those who are in government, should be engaged in the process,” said Ghulam Sakhi Horyan, head a council of Herat students.
The young activists said a peace which is imposed by foreigners on Afghans is not acceptable. They said an acceptable peace is the one in which all Afghans are fully engaged.
“Women should not be sidelined in the peace process,” said Qadriya Wahidi, a Herat resident. “There is a need for men and women’s active engagement in the peace process.”
“Taliban should come and join peace and talk with Afghans because they are our own compatriots and there is no need to fight between each other. They [Taliban] should stand by their people instead of standing against them,” said Mahmoud, a Herat activist.
The remarks by Herat youths come at a time that many Afghans have recently raised their voices about peace through different gatherings, calling for preserving the achievements of the past 18 years in the peace process.
On Saturday, two gatherings of women were held on peace – one in Kabul and another in Jawzjan. Those who attended the gatherings said freedoms should not be sacrificed for peace.
The women activists said women should have an equal part in the peace process as men.
This comes as the US negotiators and the Taliban members are engaged in direct talks in Qatar for the fifth time since last September.
US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad last week described his meetings with the Taliban members as “productive”.
This time, the Taliban’s delegation consults their discussions on peace with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban’s deputy leader and head of their Qatar office.
Critics said Mullah Baradar’s presence will give the group the chance to make decision on important matters while talking to US negotiators in Qatar.