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September 26, 2018
The Kabul Times

Peace restoration urgent need for Afghans

Addressing the 21st meeting of Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) meeting attended by many foreign officials in Kabul here on Wednesday, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said peace was more urgent and should be achieved before the upcoming Wolesi Jirga and district council elections.
The president said the Afghans’ hope for peace underwent a change as compared to the past when the Afghans looked for others to bring them peace.’”But now we have our own plan and policy for peace.”
He said for reaching peace there would be first agreement and the peace process would continue because it was important for keeping the peace agreement intact.”I believe the Afghan nation wants change, you will see this belief proving in the elections and the peace process, what we need is tolerance and to promote this culture,” he said.
The president went on saying that Afghans felt the joy of peace during the ceasefire and they also saw the war price before and after the ceasefire. “If there were no political or religious reasons against ceasefire, then why we should continue the bloodshed?”
A successful cease-fire between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters last month helped create an “unprecedented opportunity” for peace efforts in Afghanistan, and now regional countries, including Pakistan – as a key regional player – must step up to the plate.
Forged by years of conflict and failed negotiation attempts, the cease-fire was not the first step on the path to a political settlement. But it may very well be the most critical.
Every Afghan citizen eagerly wishes a day in which their children and youths could go to school, university or market without fear of dead and explosions. While both government and people repeatedly have called on Taliban to join peace process but unfortunately they have reacted with bombing and massacring the  innocent people.
The Taliban and other militants fighting Afghan government and people must be made to understand that by continuing the fight, they are only worsening the suffering and despair of the people they purport to defend.
In the first quarter of this year, Afghanistan sustained 2,258 civilian casualties.  There are encouraging signs that international and Afghan forces are now beginning to take accountability for civilian casualties much more seriously. Not so are their Taliban counterparts, who account for the vast majority of casualties.
The National Unity Government led by President Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah have time and again expressed readiness to extend truce to at least one year, if the Taliban do the same. Peace restoration is an urgent need for Afghans, as the continued violence have hampered the process of development in the country
Extension of truce must have already been on the top agenda for the government of Afghanistan before reach any other conclusions. This would be a win-win situation and would provide the way forward to establishing durable peace in the country.

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