Afghan elders recommend peaceful means to end war


Kabul : Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed to a proposal by elders from the eastern provinces of the country to call the anti-government Taliban militants to talks to put an end to the years of fighting in the country.

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The elders met the Afghan leader at his Presidential Palace on Sunday and discussed with him the recent political and security situation in the country and ways and means how to bring peace to the war-battered Afghanistan.

The delegation included provincial governors, parliamentarians, tribal elders, influential and intellectuals. They asked the Afghan president that talks would be held with the militants and peaceful means should be adopted to restore normalcy. Taliban militants are fighting a guerilla war against the foreign troops and the government of President Hamid Karzai since 2001, the year when the militia’s regime was ousted as a result of US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Taliban being the hosts of Saudi exiled Osama bin Ladin, invited the wrath of the world’s sole Super Power after they refused to expel the al-Qaeda chief or hand him over to the United States for his alleged masterminding of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Around 45,000 foreign troops, both the US-led coalition and the NATO-led ISAF are presently stationed in Afghanistan to back the government of President Hamid Karzai against the Taliban who are waging the guerilla war.

The Taliban believe their country was sold out to the “infidels”, the term they refer to the foreign troops and allege the Karzai government and the existing parliament were serving as tools to serve the interests of the western powers. As the years of insurgency are prolonging with no end despite the lapse of six years, the call for the use of peaceful means instead of force has been increasing among Afghans to bring peace to the country.

This is why, the elders marched to Kabul and called on the Afghan president to inform him of the views. The delegation members presented the president with recommendations and suggestions for ensuring peace in the country. The president, who usually express himself and asking for peace with the Taliban, lauded the step by the Afghan elders and observed that due weight should be given to their suggestions and recommendations.

In Afghanistan, being the tribal society, majority of decisions and solutions to disputes are being searched through Jirgas or assembly of elders. In recent months, a similar Jirga, participated by some 700 delegates from Afghanistan and Pakistan, was held in Kabul to address the issue of insurgency, cross-border terrorism and peace and stability in Afghanistan and the border areas of Pakistan.