KUNDUZ -- Dozens of women in Sar-e-Pul Province gathered on Saturday (October 31) to show their support for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) amid a wave of escalating violence in the country.
The security forces are shielding the public day and night, and civilians have the responsibility of supporting them, Zarmina Yasini, a women's rights activist, said at the rally in Sar-e-Pul city, the provincial capital.
"As an Afghan, I appreciate and thank the security forces and the heroes of Afghanistan for always acting as shields and defending us from the enemy," Yasini said.
"In the current situation, we have no other option but to support and encourage the security forces. All Afghans should be united in their support for them," she added.
Afghan and US officials have repeatedly warned that rising bloodshed is threatening peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban that started in Qatar in September.
Nafisa Amani, a resident of Sar-e-Pul Province, called on the international community and NATO to strongly support the ANDSF and equip them as they continue to combat a surge in terrorist attacks.
"We are very happy with our security forces as Sar-e-Pul Province has been under Taliban threat. There is always fighting, and it is the security forces that protect and defend each inch of this land," Amani said.
Supporting the ANDSF will help Afghanistan achieve lasting and comprehensive peace, said Nabila Habibi, the director of women's affairs for Sar-e-Pul Province, in her address at the gathering.
In addition, it will mean that the Taliban will no longer be able to make excuses and will have to resolve their differences through negotiations, she said.
"We declare our support for the country's defence forces. We hope that peace will prevail soon across the country and that we will be able to live in peace and safety," she added.
"The majority of military personnel stay up all through the night to protect us. They are busy fighting on the front lines of the war, and each one of us, as mothers, prays for their victory," Habibi said.
Protecting the country
With security, women in Sar-e-Pul can achieve more success in economic, social, and political areas, said Habibi.
Regarding the peace talks between the government and the Taliban, she added that the negotiators should not compromise what women already have achieved in the last two decades.
Afghan security forces are fighting to maintain security and protect the country and they should be supported, said Mawlawi Mohamad Ashraf Haqkhwa, a religious scholar in Sar-e-Pul Province.
"Soldiers who sacrifice their comfort for the security and prosperity of the public and who work hard to maintain security... will be greatly rewarded," he said.
"The holy prophet of Islam has said that the two great blessings that the almighty God has bestowed on humans are good health and security," he said.
"If there is no security in a society, peace will be disrupted," he added.
Brig. Gen. Ghulam Jilani Abubakar, the chief of police of Sar-e-Pul Province, pledged that his officers will work even harder to maintain security in the province.
"I am proud of such mothers and sisters for raising such sons and for not even fearing for their lives in the defence of the country, honour, and their people," he said at the gathering.
"In addition to your prayers, security forces need your co-operation to maintain better security in Sar-e-Pul. You should report any kind of suspicious activity to the security forces," Abubakar added.
"Security in Sar-e-Pul Province is being maintained, and I promise you that your sons will never allow terrorists to disrupt your peace," he said.