With the beginning of the new democratic era in Afghanistan in 2002, hopes for a new free, strong, developed and independent Afghanistan remerged among Afghans; even Afghans who lived outside the country were inspired and began repatriation to live and work in their own country.
Life became normal in the country and new businesses emerged with the assistance of the international community. Afghanistan had lost everything in the war and the new government started to build the country by building Afghan National Security Forces, Afghan health and Afghan educational sectors. Life was joyful for a couple of years, but turned to become ugly after the re-emergence of the Taliban groups.
This new war with the Taliban which began around 2004 and still continues cost the lives of thousands of civilians including women and children. Hundreds of schools, bridges, hospitals and other public institutions were destroyed by the Taliban. Thousands of people were displaced inside Afghanistan. Millions of children were deprived of education and health services supposed to be offered by the Afghan government. The Taliban became a hurdle before development in Afghanistan. Many people even decided to leave Afghanistan to take refuge in foreign countries; a considerable number of whom were drowned in seas during this hard journey.
It has been difficult for the Taliban to justify their war in Afghanistan which has wrongly branded Afghanistan at the international community. During this period of time, the Afghan Government has attempted for peace talks but failed to achieve results.
With the establishment of the National Unity Government new hopes among Afghans, have emerged for peace. The new Government is committed and believes in peace more than any other time.
The Afghan Government began a process of quadrilateral meeting involving Pakistan, China, and the United States. The first meeting was held in Islamabad discussing the principles to begin the series of meetings. The second meeting was held in Kabul and the third meeting was held in Pakistan in which all the four sides agreed on a frame work or a roadmap for peace talks with the Taliban.
Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad, Omer Zakhailwal, who was recently appointed to assume this mission, said that hopefully peace talks with the Taliban will begin by the end of this month in less than two weeks time.
Yesterday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while addressing guests at the Presidential Palace, marking the 27th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet Union, once again called on the Taliban including the leader of Hezb-e-Islami Party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to welcome the Afghan government peace call and join the peace process.
These remarks and attempts by the Afghan Government have emerged new hopes among Afghans for a peace they were dreaming for over a long period of time. Afghans want peace more than anything else. Afghans call on the Taliban to say “YES” to the Afghan Government call for peace and come and live alongside with other Afghans and build their country and participate in politics according to the Afghan constitution. There is an old saying; the end of violence is not peace, it is politics. It is obvious that violence ends with peace, but a real violence will develop a strong political environment in the country in which all citizens can exercise their rights. So, peace brings prosperity, welfare, stability and brotherhood among Afghans. Let’s wish for a lasting and enduring peace in Afghanistan.