Religious scholars say national reconciliation should be Afghan-led

12 Feb 2010

Religious scholars say national reconciliation should be Afghan-led

12 February 2010 - As the issue of national reconciliation and reintegration is gaining momentum both in Afghanistan and abroad, leading religious scholars in eastern Afghanistan have stressed that the process should be led by Afghans, not by foreigners.


The scholars from Nangarhar province, called “Ulemas,” also told a meeting called by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Jalalabad on Thursday that the Government of Afghanistan should come clean on its reconciliation and reintegration efforts.

“The lead role on the national reconciliation and reintegration (NRR) should be given to Islamic people of Afghanistan,” said Mufti Moin Shah from Spinghar district.

Mr Shah also urged the international actors in the country to respect “Islamic values.”

As part of its ongoing engagement with religious scholars and elders on major issues of national importance, UNAMA’s Eastern Regional Office had called the meeting with the Ulemas in order to enhance consensus on the reconciliation and reintegration process as well as to discuss the role of the scholars on this.

Altogether, 10 Ulemas participated in the meeting.

Speaking during the occasion, Maulavi Abdul Subur from Jalalabad asked the Government to send a strong and unequivocal message to the insurgents that it is “honest” on national reconciliation.

“Reconciliation and big military operations can’t go together,” said Mr Subur, adding that the Government and the international military need to do “a lot” to create a conducive environment for NRR.

Echoing similar views, another Ulema member, Maulavi Nooristan from Ghanikhail, said the Government should convince the insurgents that it is serious about reconciliation.

They said they are ready to assist any reconciliation efforts that are “genuine” and pledged to cooperate with UNAMA to this end.

Ismail Balla, a UNAMA political officer, told the scholars that the political mission is trying to build consensus on the issue of NRR.

“We will soon be seeking assistance of all grassroots organizations and civil society organizations to actively participate in this process,” said Mr Balla.

By Tilak Pokharel, UNAMA