Participants of a day-long conference arranged by Pajhwok Afghan News on Sunday stressed the need for a realistic strategy to advance the peace process and a greater role for media in promoting stability and checking growing violence.
High Peace Council (HPC) members, political analysts and civil society activists took part in the conference that discussed the reconciliation process, talks with Taliban, the situation after the demise of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, the ongoing insurgency, proxy wars, Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and performance of the council and its committees.
Sayeda Muzgan Mustafavi, deputy director of broadcasting at the Ministry of Information and Culture, said journalists were peace ambassadors and they should prioritise giving coverage to peace related events.
She lauded Pajhwok Afghan News services and asked other media outlets to consider the news agency as a role model.
Shah Hussain Murtazavi, Hashti-i-Subh newspaper director, said currently around 90 percent of media outlets concentrated on war-related news and events. He criticised some media officials for leaving the conference after a short stay and not taking part in academic discussions regarding peace and reconciliation.
Shah Mahmood Miakhel, the US Institute for Peace country director in Afghanistan, praised Pajhwok for arranging such a vital conference and said the war in Afghanistan had personal, regional and international goals.
Miakhel expressed the need for a strong and effective strategy for the reconciliation process and said peace should have public support and the process should continue.
Dr. Faramurz Tamana, head of the strategic studies department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said: “Some people believe the war in Afghanistan is a proxy, but the players of this game are regional countries such as Iran, China and Pakistan.
Tamana said Afghanistan tried different techniques to end the conflict but could not succeed.
Malali Shinwari, a civil society activist, criticised the ongoing peace process and said honest and deserving peace negotiators were needed to advance the vital process.
Powerful tribal elder from eastern Nangarhar province, Haji Din Mohammad, also a member of HPC, said the council had been trying to achieve a breakthrough in peace talks, but its efforts did not yield positive results.
Commenting about possible dissolution of the HPC, he suggested an alternative should be found before doing so. He told reporters efforts were underway to restart talks with the Taliban and the government of China was playing a role in this regard.
According to Mohammad, pressure from the US and China on Pakistan could contribute to the Afghan peace process. He lauded Pajhwok's initiatives for peace and said such events were important for peace and stability in the country.