KUNDUZ -- Members of a civilian peace movement and residents of Kunduz city gathered at rallies last week calling for peace in the country.
"The war has inflicted many losses on Afghans, and one of the criteria that brings us closer to peace is mobilising and uniting Afghans," Enayatullah Khaliq, director of a civil society network in Kunduz, said at the rally on February 7.
"In light of [our] Islamic, cultural and historic values, we have to work for peace by supporting peace and avoiding conflict," added Khaliq.
Representatives of a traveling peace caravan, who have visited 22 provinces in the past 1½ years, said at the rally they plan to organise a large gathering soon in Kabul.
"We met with some of the Taliban leaders in December 2019 and told them no matter why they are upset with the government, we were able to facilitate [their talks] so that we can achieve peace, and to [stop] the everyday killing of Afghans on both sides," said Iqbal Khyber, who is leading the caravan. "They accepted our request."
His group, known as the People's Peace Movement, spoke with residents of the provinces about organising a gathering in Kabul to ensure that all members of society could take part in the event, said Khyber.
The gathering in Kabul is aimed at bringing Afghans together so that they can engage in a dialog with each other, he added.
"Residents of Kunduz are thirstier for peace and security than the residents of any other province," said Mirza Muhammad Laghmani, a tribal elder in Kunduz.
"If 50 Afghans are attending the gathering from each of the provinces, about 500 residents will be ready to voluntarily participate from [Kunduz] province since they will never forget the troubles they have been through in the past two decades of war," he said.
Peace in every village
"Peace is the right of every Afghan citizen, and we will try to achieve this goal to the last drop of our blood," said Abdul Hadi Shafiq, a member of the caravan.
"Parties to the conflict should not prefer their personal interest over the public's desires by continuing the war and killing their brothers," he said.
Meanwhile, more than 200 residents declared their support for the civilian peace caravan at a gathering on February 8 in Kunduz city and called for peace in the country.
"The intra-Afghan peace talks should begin as soon as possible, with Afghans managing them and the international community overseeing and mediating them," said Malalai Saad, a civil society activist in Kunduz city.
"No country has ever reached peace without parties to the conflict talking with each other," she said.
"The war martyrs men, orphans their children and makes their wives widows," she said. "We expect parties to the conflict to, for God's sake, make peace and stop killing their brothers."