Ending the conflict and harm to civilians the focus of a Gardez radio discussion
GARDEZ – Participants of a UN-backed radio programme in the southeastern province of Paktya have called for urgent measures to end the conflict which has caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties.
Organised by UNAMA regional office in Gardez, the panellists included representatives of youth groups, community leaders, religious scholars and academia who underscored the importance of various on-going efforts towards peace. Participants said the UN report on the protection of civilians is a significant source of information on the plight of civilians and serves as a useful tool for advocacy to end the war.
“The report exposes the real impact of the war in Afghanistan,” said Wahid Gul Hashmi, a journalist in Paktya. “But it also puts pressure on the conflicting parties because none of them wants a bad reputation among Afghans and with the international community,” he said.
Another speaker, Qari Khawaja Din Haqbayan, said the war brings nothing other than destruction, quoting religious verses which condemn the wanton killing of innocent lives. “War serves only to kill and destroy and must come to an end,” said Haqbayan, who is also head of the Paktya Ulema’s council.
In its 2019 Midyear Report on the Protection of Civilians, covering the period 1 January and 30 June 2019, UNAMA recorded 3,812 civilian casualties, of which 1,207 were children (327 killed and 880 injured). Paktya province is one the most volatile provinces with a high number of civilian casualties.
Tens of thousands, particularly women and children, have been displaced, cannot access health services, education or engage in employment. These factors exacerbate their marginalization and push them deeper into poverty.
The radio programme was part of a series of eight aired by Zhwand Radio, reaching an estimated audience of around 250,000 in Paktya and surrounding districts.
UNAMA works with various institutions and individuals, including media stations, religious leaders, provincial councils, community leaders, youth groups and women to create platforms – using radio, social media, and television – for Afghans to engage in dialogue on pressing issues affecting their communities.