Balkh activists warn against compromise over gains in peace talks
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Civil society activists and members of the provincial council in northern Balkh province on Monday said they wanted peace but not at the cost of any compromise over the gains of last 14 years.
Holding a gathering here, the participants chanted: “Daesh is devil,” “terrorists are animals,” and “we want peace not compromise”.
The gathering came as Pakistan opened a meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Committee (QCC) aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.
The QCC interaction --- comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States (US) ---reflects an important consensus on the roadmap for peace talks. Taliban representatives have not been invited to the talks, vowing to talk only to the US and not to the Afghan government.
A first round of peace talks with the Taliban was held in July but collapsed after the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their founder Mullah Omar.
A civil society activist in Balk, Najib Paikan, told Pajhwok Afghan News at the sidelines of the gathering that the Afghans were in urgent need for peace, which should not be achieved at the expense of the past 14 years achievements.
Representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China in Islamabad would lay the groundwork for the reconciliation process, aimed at ending nearly four decades of conflict in the country.
Paikan said the Islamabad meetings should consider the Afghanistan Constitution, national and democratic values and should not make peace based on a compromise over the country’s progress in diverse fields, including human and women’s rights.
“The demands of the groups involved in the peace talks should be specific and the Afghan people who suffered for the past 14 years should not be forgotten,” he said.
The deputy head of New Line civil society group, Shakoor Najafizada, read out a resolution letter during the gathering. The letter said the ongoing efforts for peace should not lead to any amendments to the Afghanistan national constitution and the ignorance of past achievements.
“If the war ends based on compromise over any of our values, it should not be called as peace,” the letter said, adding that terrorist attackers should not be granted exemption from prosecution.
The provincial peace committee chief, Baz Mohammad Gharibyar, said he was optimistic about the four-way talks in Islamabad, asking Pakistan to be honest in its support for the peace bid in Afghanistan.
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