War robbing Afghanistan of a prosperous future, say Baghlan radio panellists
PUL-E-KHUMRI - Afghanistan’s long conflict must end, as it is perpetuating a cycle of poverty, illiteracy and inequality among millions of Afghans, said panellists during a radio discussion in the northeastern province of Baghlan.
In the studio discussion recorded and broadcast by Baghlan Radio to around a million people in and around the province’s capital of Pul-e-Khumri, guests described how the war not only is causing thousands of civilian casualties and irreparable harm to Afghanistan’s infrastructure, but also is putting at risk the brain-trust of future generations.
“The majority of Afghans – the people who could have become engineers, doctors, intellectuals serving their communities – remain illiterate,” lamented Rahim Aria, a rights activist. “Millions haven’t gone to school because of this never-ending war.”
From there, the discussion moved to civilian casualties. In the past 10 years, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documented more than 32,000 civilians killed and around 60,000 injured. In 2018 alone, there were 10,993 civilian casualties. Among those killed were 927 children, the highest recorded number of boys and girls killed in the conflict in a single year.
The impact of the war in Afghanistan has been both wide-ranging and devastating, with the country’s northeastern provinces suffering some of the deadliest fighting in Afghanistan during the past 10 years, leaving behind damaged infrastructure and displacing thousands of families.
At the conclusion of the radio programme, the rights activists, provincial authorities and other community leaders gathered on the panel made a joint plea to stop the fighting, reiterating the many calls from across Afghanistan for the conflict to come to an end.
Organized by UNAMA’s regional office in Kunduz, in partnership with local media partner Baghlan Radio, the discussion was part of a countrywide outreach programme aimed at creating platforms – using radio, television and social media – for local communities to engage in dialogue on pressing issues.
UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.
UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.