Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, April 3rd, 2020

Afghans Make Sacrifices for Peace

It is not enough to say ‘We must not wage war.’ It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace,” these words are spoken by Martin Luther King.
In the hope of peace and stability, Afghan soldiers and civilians have paid heavy sacrifices. They embraced democracy in the post-Taliban administration to have their rights and freedoms protected. Generally, Afghans called on warring factions to stop violence and support the government and Afghanistan’s democratic constitution, which recognizes equal rights and freedoms for all individuals regardless of their caste, color, and creed.
Afghan women, who bore the brunt of violence and ideological regime of the Taliban, also embraced democratic principles with open arms and engaged in social and political activities with the hope of bringing in positive changes. Despite the life-threatening condition, women joined Afghan National Army, engaged in educational and cultural activities, and strived for political positions to pave the ground for peaceful coexistence. In short, both men and women sought to play their role in bringing in changes for better tomorrow.
Nonetheless, peace and stability remained elusive since warring parties, mainly the Taliban, continued their hit-and-run strategy. Their destructive role counteracted the heavy sacrifices and constructive role of Afghan soldiers and civilians. Warring factions created roadblocks before democratic principles, national sacrifices, and progressive movements. Vis-à-vis people’s hope for peace and progress, militant and terrorist groups intensified their aggressive strategy to reach their ideological utopia. They waged war and continued their violent mechanism to add to the misery of the nation. That is to say, they disregarded the facts that “in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue,” which were stated by Martin Luther in his Nobel Lecture.
Although warring factions continue war and conflict, countless of Afghans are still ready to pay sacrifices to support democracy. The people of Afghanistan are frustrated with war but seek to pursue their social and political role for a better tomorrow. Indeed, peace and stability are unlikely to emerge without sacrifices. It has been proved that warring factions will not win through war and violence. But they inflicted heavy casualties on Afghan men and women.
With the adoption of democratic constitution, the public opinion has been shifted toward accepting each other and showing tolerance. In collective life, sexual discrimination has been mitigated to a great extent and Afghan women hold high positions regardless of their gender, which is a great achievement.
Whether warring factions pursue a negotiated settlement or continue their terrorist activities, Afghans will continue their active role in social and political spheres in a bid to pave the ground for peace and stability. Although their rights and freedoms have been trampled upon in one way or another, their dream for a peaceful society is likely to come true as a result of their selfless sacrifices.
Since war leads to destruction and human fatalities, it will trigger public hatred not only against terrorist networks such as the Taliban and its affiliates, but also against their supporters and protectors. Their supporters, who intend to narrow the room for peaceful coexistence in Afghanistan, will regret their terrible blunder.
If the sacrifices of Afghan soldiers and civilians are disregarded and terrorist groups are either underestimated or supported, the region has to be aware of the spillover. That is, we live in the global village and the “only my backyard” mindset is likely to be counterproductive. In the global village, “when a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean.”
With this in mind, regional states and global powers should be indifferent neither to the heavy and wholehearted sacrifices of Afghan combatants and non-combatants nor to the threat to terrorism. The world should not leave Afghan nation alone in its fight against terrorism. To support democracy and human rights discourse, the world has to fight against terrorist networks and dismantle their financial resources and safe havens wherever they are.