Kabul: Over a thousand civil society activists gathered in Kabul to call for the inclusion of women, youth, the disabled and the media in the Afghan peace process.
More than 1,300 representatives assembled in the open at the Chihilsitoon Garden in Afghanistan’s capital for the National Peace Gathering, which has been dubbed the largest gathering of the civil society in the country’s history.
The representatives were from all districts and provinces in Afghanistan, while 600 joined the event via Facebook.
The men and women had gathered after the US administration called for ‘accelerated peace talks’ in Istanbul, Turkey to come to some agreement for Afghanistan.
“For any agreement to be accepted by the people of Afghanistan, and to be sustainably implemented in Afghanistan: that agreement needs the support of the Afghan society,” said a statement issued by the Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace, which arranged the gathering.
“To have the support of Afghan society, the peace process needs to be inclusive of the independent voices of Afghan society. Our voices must be heard and included,” said the group.
The statement further added that many Afghans present on Monday risked their lives during the pandemic to be part of the event.
“But the magnitude of the situation, and this real opportunity to move towards peace, is such that we all felt it was important to take that risk,” it added.
The Afghan civil society conveyed its demands to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Taliban Political Commission, the international community and the media, which insisted on an inclusive process and outcome of the peace talks that has the voices of all segments of society, especially the vulnerable and marginalized groups.
The civil society also urged for direct access to the table via the Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace and a comprehensive ceasefire.