Takhar leaders strategize on next steps following nationwide dialogue on peace

26 Jul 2018

Takhar leaders strategize on next steps following nationwide dialogue on peace

TALOQAN - After nation-wide consultations on peace among ordinary Afghans from across the country, all documented in a new book, community leaders in Takhar met at a UN-backed event to discuss possible next steps toward building a more stable and prosperous country.

The recently published book, titled “34 Roadmaps of the Afghan People’s Dialogue,” is a distillation of the consultations involving more than 6,000 people – a third of whom were women. It details Afghan views on peace, reconciliation, human rights, gender equality and economic development.

During the event in Takhar’s capital of Taloqan, participants discussed plans for implementing the recommendations made in the book.

Peace activist Shah Nawaz urged communities across the province to act on the book’s findings. “I think that to bring positive change to our communities, we must fight discrimination, build unity and strengthen law enforcement,” she said.

The book details Afghan views about the drivers of conflict in Takhar, including corruption in the judicial system, the activities of illegal armed groups, disputes over land, widespread illiteracy and the absence of a formal peace and reintegration process.

Participants identified and agreed on the key first steps toward building peace and stability in the north-eastern province: addressing ethnic and political tensions, disarming illegal armed groups and protecting human rights.

“We, the activists, should never give up peace efforts and advocacy in our communities,” said Aziza Nasiri, a member of Takhar’s Afghan People’s Dialogue Committee, speaking at the event.

Takhar, located in Afghanistan’s northeast region, borders Tajikistan to the north. It is a mostly rural province, consisting of agricultural and mining communities, and is known for its salt mountains.

The book, “34 Roadmaps of the Afghan People’s Dialogue,” was produced by a steering committee of 11 civil society groups along and the High Peace Council, with the support of UNAMA’s Human Rights team.

In May, at the book’s launch in Kabul, Fahim Hakim, a steering committee member and adviser to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said that the book should serve as a benchmark for future peace planning and for policymakers.

“People from all walks of life participated in these dialogues, including teachers, farmers, religious leaders, commanders and youth,” said Hakim.

The event in Taloqan was organized by UNAMA’s Kunduz regional office. Similar events are scheduled to take place across the country as part of a countrywide outreach programme to create platforms – using radio, television, and social media – for Afghans to engage in dialogue and discuss critical issues affecting their communities.