Thousands of people rallied in Kabul, calling for peace

Ahead of a decisive power-sharing meeting between the government and the Taliban leadership, thousands of people rallied in an unprecedented gathering in Kabul’s Ghazi Stadium, on Friday, April 09, to voice their support for lasting peace.

The rally unanimously called for an immediate ceasefire and unconditional end to violence. Thousands of young men and women who had gathered in Ghazi Stadium, a sports ground that symbolizes Taliban atrocity, were united in their call for peace.

“We call on the warring parties to declare and implement a permanent or at least a temporary ceasefire until an agreement is reached in all over the country under the direct watch of the United Nations in order to have a good sphere for successful negotiations and heal the morale of the Afghan war-torn nation,” said part of a resolution issued by the rally.

In weeks ahead, the Afghan parties will attend a power-sharing meeting to be hosted by Turkey and monitored by the United Nations. Various Afghan factions have pledged their supports for the coming conference in Turkey. The Taliban too have vowed readiness for a political settlement.

Those gathered in Friday’s rally called for a sustainable, dignified, and inclusive peace, and preservation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the country’s constitutional values such as elections, women’s rights, freedom of expression, and free press.

“[Having] experienced the bitter and grave consequences of ideological rulers and religious fundamentalism, Kabul residents, as like other citizens of the country, do not accept moving backward and repeating the dark past,” the 6th point of the resolution read.

Mohammad Yaqoub Haidari, the Kabul governor, addressing the gathering, said Kabul residents want a just peace that protects the country’s national interests and values of the Constitution. “We aspire to have a government elected by people’s votes. A system in which the gains made over the past 20 years are protected,” he said, calling on the warring sides to agree on a ceasefire at the Istanbul conference.

Freedom of speech, women’s rights, human rights, elections, defense and security forces, the media, and other achievements should not be compromised in the peace process, the Kabul governor highlighted.

The rally called on the international community, the United Nations, and other parties involved in the Afghan peace process not to comprise civil rights of the people of Afghanistan in upcoming political settlement with the Taliban.

They underlined that the US and its NATO allies should proceed with a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan and take the fact into notice that Afghanistan’s security situation is volatile.  Any hasty peace settlement and rushed withdrawal will not bring the desired results for the international community and push Afghanistan into abyss of chaos, and turn the country again into a safe house for the international terrorist organizations.

The resolution has been sent to the Afghan government, the High Council for National Reconciliation, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the Taliban, and diplomatic missions in Kabul.