The restoration of peace is not only up to the government but is the responsibility of every Afghan citizen, according to participants at a UNAMA-supported meeting in Gardez.
Around 100 people, including community elders, religious scholars, representatives of civil society, members of the Provincial Council, government officials and journalists attended the meeting in the capital city of Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Paktya. It is part of a series of three meetings, with one already held in Khost province and the final scheduled for Paktika province tomorrow.
Organized by UNAMA in cooperation with the local Provincial Peace Committee, the gathering aimed to raise awareness among the public about the peace process and promote the involvement of tribal leaders, religious scholars and civil society groups.
Gardez participants viewed peace as a dire need of Afghan society and encouraged people to contribute to the peace process where they could.
Participant and community leader, Khawani Jahani, said that it was important for peace efforts to take place at the village level. He emphasized the key role of the Provincial Peace Committees in spreading the message of peace to communities.
A participant at the recent meeting in Khost province, Amirullah Zraswand, said that while efforts should be made towards peace inside Afghanistan, there was also a role for the international community.
Former Director of the Women Affair’s Department, Khawar Amiri, highlighted the human toll of the ongoing conflict and insecurity: “Women have lost their husbands, sons and brothers in this conflict and many are currently deprived of their fundamental rights," she said.
Mrs. Amiri said that women have an integral role in the peace process, particularly at the family level where they can in some cases persuade relatives to renounce violence and take up a more peaceful way of life.
UNAMA is mandated to assist the government and the people of Afghanistan in laying the foundation for sustainable peace and development in the country.