Kandahar’s community leaders and government officials call for peace
KANDAHAR - In the southern region of Afghanistan, the UN is continuing work on an initiative to leverage the power of local communities to work together toward resolving conflict peacefully.
Some two dozen government officials and community leaders, among them women, spoke at the event, which was organized by the Kandahar regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
The event was set up to bring district officials together with community representatives to share their stories about the personal impact of the conflict and the important role communities can play with government counterparts to address it.
“We owe it to our children, to our families and to our communities to push for peace, each and every one of us,” said Haji Agha Lalai, Kandahar’s Deputy Governor for Tribal Affairs, in opening remarks. “Indeed, we cannot, and should not, leave the important task of ending conflict to others; this is not something that can be delegated.”
District officials attending the event from Panjwayi and Maiwand echoed these sentiments, and underlined the need for improving public services and security to gain the confidence of the communities they serve to enhance their ability to work together.
During the discussion that followed, the event’s participants agreed that the province’s conflict is driven by a wide variety of complex and interrelated factors, and concluded that the solutions will take time, resources and courage, as well as the capacity and willingness of local officials and community leaders.
The newly appointed head of Kandahar’s Provincial Peace Council, Sher Ahmad Haqyaar, stressed the need for stability. “Communities and local authorities need to work together to increase confidence among communities,” he said. “This means more security and support for former insurgents who have surrendered and expressed a willingness to return to their homes.”
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.