Peace council faced problems in Zabul
QALAT (PAN): The High Peace Council chapter for the southern province of Zabul complains corruption in government institutions and foreign interference has created hurdles to their reconciliation efforts.
Since the beginning of the process, the council has been faced with challenges, but with the death of its chairman, Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, the campaign had come to a halt, the panel's spokesman said.
Mohammad Daud Gulzar told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview the council had many supporters in Afghanistan and abroad. However, he said, some elements wanted to disrupt the drive.
Many militants had joined the peace process in the province as a result of joint efforts by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the council, he claimed. They were also in contact with other rebel group, whose names were being kept under wraps for security reasons, he said.
"There are two big impediments to our endeavours. Interference from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which wields influence in the southwestern zone, has created problems after the signing the strategic cooperation agreement between Afghanistan and India," he added.
Gulzar said the second important problem pertained to widespread corruption in government departments that had reached an exceptionally high level, hindering the reconciliation effort.
Additionally, he continued, the gap created between the government and the people had been yawning over the past decade. The trend could be arrested by launching development projects in remote areas to restore people's confidence in the government, he suggested.
Differences among the judicial, legislative and executive pillars had undermined the public confidence in the rulers in addition to impinging on the peace process, he said. The corruption problem had been shared with provincial departments, but was yet to be resolved, he regretted.
Despite problems and challenges, the spokesman resolved they would continue their peace struggle in Zabul. He hoped they would be able to convince many fighters to renounce violence if the international community and the Afghan government assist them.
"Residents of the province are tired of fighting and support the peace campaign. Militants have also evinced an interest in talks. We are also honestly working for the success of the process. I can assure you we will achieve encouraging results."
The council, which has been working over the past six months in Zabul, has 25 members who have so far convinced a five-member insurgent group to surrender.
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