HERAT -- Members of Afghan security and defence forces who lost their lives fighting against terrorism were honoured in a photo exhibition on September 17-19 in Herat city.
More than 300 photos of fallen soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA), the National Police, and the National Directorate of Security were displayed in the two-day exhibition.
Visitors at the exhibit vowed never to forget the sacrifices of those who gave their lives to protect Afghans and defend Afghanistan.
All Afghans will keep the memories of martyred security personnel alive, said Behroz Timorian, a resident of Herat city who attended the event.
"Afghan soldiers sacrificed their precious lives to protect lives and defend the country, and we will spare no effort to keep their memories alive and support their families," he said.
These security personnel are heroes, while now their families and children have nowhere to go, he added.
"Preserving the security forces and keeping the power of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan intact are critical for Afghans in the peace negotiations," Timorian said. "We request that the negotiating parties in the peace process not have any discussion about the fate of security forces, because any deal in this regard is not acceptable to us."
The government and the Taliban are in the early stages of meetings in Doha, Qatar, in an effort to hammer out a deal that would end the war in Afghanistan.
Security forces are heroes who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the country, said Juma Khan, a resident of Pashtun Zarghun District of Herat Province.
"We will defend our security forces and stand by them until our last drop of blood," he said. "Our military forces have proven that they are capable of defending Afghanistan on their own, while their dependence on foreign forces is decreasing day by day."
"We can see in these photos that young heroes have lost their lives for us and Afghanistan," he said. "Their sacrifices will never be forgotten, and their legacy will continue. The heroism of these forces will be written in gold in the history of Afghanistan."
Ready to defend Afghanistan
For their part, security forces to defend the country and not to allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven again for international terrorists.
Security forces have always had the support of the people, who have boosted their morale to better fight against terrorists and defend the country, said Maj. Feda Mohammad Balkhi of the 207th Zafar Corps of the ANA in Herat.
"Security and defence forces are the sons of this country... We promise that we will defend our people, our sovereignty, our independence and our national values at the cost of our lives," he said.
Security forces will fight anyone who disturbs security and peace, Balkhi added.
"We promise the people of Afghanistan that we will defend them and our country under any circumstance, and we will never abandon them," said Sgt. Nader Shah of the 207th Zafar Corps. "We will all step forward together toward a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan."
Nothing has been achieved from the four-decade-long war except the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives and the destruction of the country, he said, adding that the Taliban should learn from history and end their violent activities.
"If the Taliban continue fighting and killing in the hope of achieving victory by war, we will fight them and not allow them to kill our innocent civilians," he said.
"The security forces are committed to protecting the lives and properties of [Afghans] and defending the country," said Sgt. Farida Gul, also a member of the Zafar Corps in Herat Province.
"I promise the people of Afghanistan that we will defend our people and our country until our last drop of blood, and will not allow their lives to be threatened," she said. "Our message to the Taliban is to abandon violence and choose peace."
Efforts to maintain peace
Security forces are making sacrifices on the battlefield to ensure security and pave the way for peace and stability, said military authorities in Herat Province.
The sole objective of the security forces is to maintain the security of Afghans and create a peaceful environment, said Maj. Gen. Abdul Raof Arghandiwal, commander of the 207th Zafar Corps.
"Our soldiers are working and fighting day and night to ensure the security of the people," he said.
"With the start of peace talks in Qatar, the security forces have adopted a peaceful strategy, but despite giving commitments, the Taliban continue to fight and use violence," he added.
Afghan troops must fight against a group whose objective is war, destruction, and killing. It is the security forces that fight against such a destructive group in cities, districts, deserts, and mountains, Arghandiwal said.
"Although, the security forces across the country are in an active defensive posture, the Taliban, contrary to their commitments, continue their attacks," he said.
Security forces are the actual supporters of peace and fight on the front lines of the war to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, said Herat Province Police Chief Col. Obaidullah Noorzai.
"Peace will never come to Afghanistan without the efforts and sacrifices of the security forces," he said. "Our military is fighting international terrorism. If it weren't for the sacrifices of our security forces, terrorists would threaten ... the entire world."
"The security forces, especially special units, have sufficient capabilities and equipment and will never allow the enemies of peace and of the people of Afghanistan to achieve their evil goals and turn the country once again into a safe haven for terrorists," Noorzai added.
Security forces have protected Afghanistan at the cost of their lives and have made the country proud, said Omaid Naab, a civil society activist in Herat city.
"Afghans are grateful for the sacrifices and efforts of the security forces. They will continue their legacy and keep their names alive," he added. "Our soldiers have shielded themselves against dangerous terrorists day and night and fight against them so that Afghans can live in peace."