Kabul, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- A group of women, mostly clad in the full-body burqas, held a rally in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province in support of peace talks with the Taliban amid expectations that the parleys between the insurgents and the government will end decades-long bloodshed in the country.
The participants, carrying banners with slogans wishing success to the peace process, urged the government and the Taliban to prioritize ceasefire as the first step to ensure no more human lives are lost.
A statement from the governor’s office in the eastern province said the rally was organized by Women Empowerment Network.
The statement said tens of university students and activists took part in the rally that began from the Provincial Council office and ended in Pashtunistan Watt near the governor’s office in the Jalalabad city.
Moqadas Salarzai, who heads the network and was leading the rally, said they supported the ongoing peace process.
“Our aim is to back talks between the government and the Taliban. We urge both sides to agree on a ceasefire for a durable peace,” Salarzai said.
The statement quoted an elderly woman participant, Mahboba, saying that she had lost her young son, an army man, fighting for the country.
She said she supported the peace process so that no mother loses her son to the bloodshed.
The government and the Taliban began peace negotiations in Doha on Sep. 12, months after the US and the insurgents struck a peace deal in the Qatari capital.
The February agreement commits complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan within 14 months to end almost two decades of war, the longest for the US, in the country.
The two negotiating teams have been holding closed-door meetings to discuss issues, including the plight of Afghan women, civil society, and the future of human rights and democracy in the country.
Activist Surya Subhrang told EFE that the two sides needed to ensure that the achievements of the last two decades were not reversed if the Taliban came to power.
“Women are concerned about their basic rights. Democratic values and constitutional rights should not be sacrificed in peace talks.” EFE-EPA