07/10/2019, 16.27
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Signs of crisis on Afghanistan’s ‘road map to peace’

Criticisms and unresolved issues emerge after an agreement is reached. The Taliban are not happy with it. The various versions differ from one another. Meanwhile, people continue to die in the country.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – More than 24 hours after an historic agreement for the road map to peace in Afghanistan, signs are emerging that the fragile truce is not holding.

Whilst the two parties were signing a joint declaration in Doha, Qatar, to lay the foundations for a lasting peace after 18 years of war, criticism is coming from many quarters.

Bacha Khan Muladad, head of public relations for the People's Peace Movement (PPM), a group of Afghan peace activists that organises public demonstrations, spoke to AsiaNews to express his concerns. "The Taliban have said again that they will not respect the agreement because what has emerged is not part of the original terms”.

An intra-Afghan conference was held in Doha on 7-8 July. The Afghan government side was represented by some 50 officials and representatives of civil society and women’s groups. The Taliban were represented by 17 people.

The meeting ended with a commitment by both parties to respect and protect the dignity, lives and property of people and end civilian casualties, but no sooner was the deal made public that it came unstuck, starting with the extremists.

A car bomb exploded near a school and the National Security Directorate in Ghazni, killing 14 people and wounding another 180, scores of them students, provincial police chief Mohammad Khalid Wardak said.

“Getting reports of a horrific attack in Ghazni in which schoolchildren were again victims,” said US Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalizad. “It is unfathomable to endanger children in this way. I strongly condemn this attack. Peace has never been more urgent and is the only path to ending terror and violence.”

One aspect of the agreement that was heavily criticised concerns women, namely that their rights would be respected within the framework of “Islamic values".

For many activists, this is too little given how women have been discriminated against, stoned, killed in "honour killings", banned from schools.

"Please, please don't let the Taliban interpret Islamic principles for women again. Islamic principles for them mean beating and imprisoning women," Facebook user Samira Samim wrote.

"Our rights were completely respected in 'frames of Islamic values' under the (Taliban)," prominent women's rights activist Wazhma Frogh wrote sarcastically on Twitter.

There are also major discrepancies between different versions of the agreement in Pashto, Dari, and English, highlighting the major difficulties that still remain in the negotiations.

The English and Dari versions do not contain any reference to one of the key Taliban demands, namely the withdrawal of all foreign military forces from Afghanistan.

Conversely, the Pashto version mentions the withdrawal of foreign troops but does not include any reference to guarantees for women's rights.

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