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Speakers express polarised opinion on new US strategy

Speakers express polarised opinion on new US strategy

Sep 21, 2017 - 16:49

KABUL (Pajhwok): Many institutes on Thursday stressed the need for national unity, slamming the new US policy for Afghanistan and asking militant groups to join the peace process.

Representatives of the Afghanistan Political Parties House (APPH), civil society groups and community council issued the call at a gathering in the capital Kabul on Thursday.

Mohammad Omar Ayar, a senior member of APPH, said: “Some figures using foreign resources posed as representatives of different tribes, religious groups and regions.

"Such elements are engaged in destructive activities including efforts to create divisions among the people and promote discrimination; they do so to secure their own interests and that of their foreign masters.”

He added the public in general wanted unity but some specific figures inside and outside the government were fueling divisions. “They are not Afghans,” he continued.

Ayar said: “You should not be deceived by those who create differences among different tribes in pursuit of their own interests.”

“Afghans have historically lived in unity and without any tribal or religious differences. They would also stand united in the future too. No one can fuel divisions among them,” he remarked.

He asked the government to control those who fueled differences among tribes. “We support national unity, independence of the country and peace. We are tired of war and cannot tolerate it anymore.”

Without naming anyone, he warned those who created hurdles to peace would face a strong public backlash.

Shah Mahmood Popal, another senior member of APPH, accused the government of selfishness, an issue that might provoke public reaction.

Such governments had collapsed in the past too, he recalled, asking the present rulers to learn a lesson from the mistakes of their predecessors, he said.

About the new US policy, Popal commented: “This strategy would only prolong the war and would not resolve Afghanistan's core problems."

War in Afghanistan was not in interest of the country, but it was to the advantage of the international community, particularly the US, he believed.

“The fresh US policy is nothing new; the Americans have only changed their tactics,” Popal believed. He asked the US to review its strategy and avoid sending more troops to Afghanistan.

“We support the US policy on a short-term basis. But in the long run, this strategy would meant a continuation of war, which is not in our interest,” said Maqsod Hassan, another APPH member.

He urged the US to target terrorist save havens outside Afghanistan and not to be confined to statements of good intent.

The conflict in Afghanistan had regional proxy dimensions, he alleged, telling the Taliban to cut their ties with foreign terrorist groups, stop playing into the hands of foreigners and join the peace process.

He called for national and international consensus on peace. He said stability could not be ensured in Afghanistan if the Afghan themselves did not forge unity in their ranks.

He also also asked political leaders to avoid fanning divisions among the Afghans and instead work together with the government for peace and stability in the country.