KABUL: More than half of a survey participants say bad governance has been main hurdle to peace while 75 percent believe intra-Afghan talks will bring peace to the country.
In addition, three among every 10 interviewed persons said economic reasons forced the youth to swell Taliban tanks.
In every five persons, four believed the government has the political will to establish peace and three among every five persons believed the government could represent their interest in peace talks with the Taliban.
The US and the Taliban inked historic peace agreement on February 29 after yearlong negotiations.
In line with this agreement, intra-Afghan talks should have been started on March 10 and before intra-Afghan talks 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 government prisoners should have been released.
The Salah Consortium, a coalition of six civil society groups, has conducted interviews with 700 people across the country regarding peace talks.
The coalition includes Afghanistan Women Education Centre, Peace and Consolidation Cooperation Centre, Peace and Democracy Organisation, Peace Studies Centre, Sanai Development Organisation and the Communication Office.
Survey Director Mohammad Usman Tariq told reporters here the survey was conducted from December 16 to Dec 31 last year in 34 provinces of the country with financial support of Heinrich Boll Stiftung with the purpose to reflect people’s voices regarding peace.
Hurdles to peace
According to the result of the survey, besides the factors displayed in the chart above, administrative corruption, law violations and drug mafia are main hurdles in the way of peace and reconciliation.
The Salah Consortium has conducted similar survey in 2018.
The report says Daesh posed 32 percent threat to peace last year and 11 percent this year, while the percentage of foreign forces being a threat to peace declined from 14 percent to eight percent and the percentage of neighbouring countries posing threat to peace surged from nine to 11 percent.
In line with the US and Taliban peace agreement, intra-Afghan talks should have kicked off on March 10, but this did not happen at a time when President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah locked horns over presidency.
According to Election Commission result, President Ghani was the winner, but Abdullah also annouced an inclsuive govenremnt and declared himself as president. According to reports, the political crisis could be a reason why intra-Afghan talks could not started.
Reasons behind youth joining government’s armed opponents
The survey finds economic issues contributed 28 percent to the youth’s joining of militants and unemployment 13 percent, with both factors making 41 percent contrtibtion to swelling of militant ranks.
Government, Taliban’s political will for peace
The survey reveals 79 percent people believe in government’s political will for peace, while 63 percent trust Taliban’s will to bring peace to the country.
Sixty-one percent people believe the government is playing a vital role in bringing peace, but less than 32 percent people say the government’s role has not been effective during talks with the Taliban.
There is a huge difference in people’s opinions regarding Taliban’s political will for peace in different zones of the country; because 81 percent of people in western, 75 percent people in eastern, 31 percent people in central zone and 43 percent in northern zone of the country trust Taliban’s political will for peace.
Face to face peace talks
In the southwestern zone, 86 percent people pin hopes on direct peace talks while 36 percent of other people in the same zone have no faith in face to face negotiations or they do not know.
Ordinary Taliban would accept decisions of their leaders?
Fifty-five percent of people believe that all fighters would agree to a possible Taliban agreement with Afghan politicians while 31 percent others believe that only Taliban based in Qatar will agree with, and 14 percent others say Taliban will accept a deal only under leadership of Shura.
Who represent people in peace talks?
Nearly 39 percent of the survey participants said the government can represent people in peace talks and 15 percent said war victims, 13 percent said civil society institutes and nine percent said political parties could represent people in the talks with the rebels.
While 10 percent said women, seven percent said Islamic scholars and tribal elders and seven percent believed the youth could represent people’s interests.
People’s suggestions for peace talks agenda
According to the survey, 33 percent people suggested ceasefire, 15 percent women and children’s rights, nine percent suggested stable peace, seven percent valuing public demands, six percent improved security, five percent Taliban and government’s commitment for talks, four percent discussing a strategy for the country’s development, two percent prisoners release, one percent each for regional economy and Afghanistan’s partnership in regional activities, and discussing the constitution.
The survey shows 93 percent people hope for a permanent ceasefire in the country.
What should we give up?
Thirteen percent of people said election should be given up while seven percent said the republic system should be scrapped, 36 percent said they did not want to give up republic system, election, human rights, social justice, freedom of speech and other achievements.
Strategy for peace
Fifteen percent of people said a good strategy for peace building was good governance while 14 percent others believed that law enforcement and equal rights were important.
The survey shows 24 percent of people want neighboring countries to stop supporting militant groups, 19 percent hope neighboring countries would not give safe havens to militant groups.
Expectations from UN, international community and OIC
According to the survey, 38 percent of people hope the mentioned foundations would support Afghanistan while 30 percent others say the foundations should work for ending war in Afghanistan.
Frozan Rasouli, head of Peace and Democracy Organization, said that in the past there was a belief that women’s opinions were heard only from Kabul about peace, but this survey showed people of every part of the country were interested to express their views about peace. (Pajhwok)