Youth Symposium for Peace & Tolerance | Herat – Afghanistan

The Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO), Kahkashan-E-Sharq Institute of Higher Education and the White Social Organization (The White Assembly) jointly organized the Youth Symposium for Peace and Tolerance in Herat province.

Our volunteers welcoming the participants…

The symposium saw incomparable and extensive participation of Youths, university lecturers and students, high ranking government officials, civil and human rights activists, as well as cultural and social activists.

Participants of the event…

At the beginning of the Symposium, Ahmad Sattari, head of Kahkashan-E-Sharq Institute of Higher Education warmly welcomed all the participants and thanked them for their huge participation in the symposium.

Then, Mr. Rahmatullah Nabil Ex. Head of National Defense Security (NDS) and special guest of the event talked about the ongoing peace talks and current situation of the country. He said:

“The people of Afghanistan particularly the youths should be aware of the current situation of the country. Every Afghan has the right to know what is going on behind the scenes of ongoing peace talks?! Young people should consciously decide following individuals and movements. Their emotions and energy should not be misused.”

The participants then asked Rahmatullah Nabil several questions about the future of the country and the current situation, to which he replied by saying:

“ISIS and the Al Qaeda are considered terrorist groups by the western countries. That’s why they have always said that the Taliban’s are of no harm for their national interests. They have never considered and nor considering the group as a treat for their interests in the region. Therefore the intra-government opposition and the US presence in Afghanistan led the US to negotiate with the Taliban, and these negotiations are more in the interest of the Americans than Afghans and Pakistan, as an intervening country in this case, has benefited and will continue to benefit from this situation.”

Mr. Nabil while addressing the participants…

Nabil added:

“US officials have always said in their interviews that the Taliban is a political group and that fighting this group is Afghanistan’s internal matter which should be resolved by Afghans themselves. Such statements have unfortunately led the Trump administration to give more concessions to the Taliban, even releasing Thousands of their fighters which have intensified the war in Afghanistan and we, the people of Afghanistan, must compensate.”

Mr. Nabil while answering participants questions…

According to Nabil, until the formation of the new government in the US, the Taliban will continue escalating the violence in Afghanistan in order to get more advantage from the coming administration in the US. If the situation continues like this, the scenario of civil wars will be repeated. We should not allow this to happen, because if such thing happened, we will have no time to regret.

Following the program, an expert panel was held with the presence of Professor Aqeel Yousefi, Dr. Ahmad Ershad Khatibi, Dr. Davood Erfan and Professor Fardina Soroush. The panel members spoke about the role of neighboring countries in the peace process of Afghanistan.

Speakers of the panel…

Dr. Ershad Khatibi law and political science lecturer talked about the positive role China can play in the peace process of Afghanistan. He said:

“From realists’ points of view, countries always act on the bases of their national interests. Unlike the rulers in our country, these statesmen focus more on their national interests rather than their personal benefits.”

Khatibi added:

“The war in Afghanistan is being waged by neighboring countries because most of their interests are in the war in Afghanistan and some of them are in favor of peace because their interests are in peace and tranquility in Afghanistan. China is one of them. Therefore the Chinese are in favor of peace in Afghanistan so that they can properly invest in this country. In addition, the war in Afghanistan is also fueling the rise of extremism in the region, and the first country to fear from the rising level of extremism in the region is China. On the other hand, China neither consider the ongoing peace talks in Doha legitimate nor accept them, because in China’s view, these talks are being managed by the Trump administration and will never be in the interest of Afghanistan and its neighbors.”

Professor Aqeel Yousefi while talking about the role of Afghanistan’s Northern neighbors said:

“The northern countries of Afghanistan, like China, are concerned about peace in Afghanistan because they have economic interests in the country. Lasting peace in Afghanistan will lead to lasting peace and economic growth in their countries as well.”

Dr. Davood Erfan also considered the role of Pakistan and Iran in Afghanistan important.

He said:

“The interventions of these two countries are the result of their definitions from their national interests. The war in Afghanistan allows these two countries to safely intervene in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and use the country’s land and water as well as its transit.”

Professor Fardina Soroush spoke about India’s role in peace in Afghanistan and added:

“India wants a strong Afghanistan in order to put Pakistan under economic and political pressure, and have upper hand in the region. The ongoing proxy wars in Afghanistan are the war between the United States and Iran, Russia and the United States, as well as India and Pakistan.”

After the expert’s panel, group work was done and then the representatives of the groups presented their views and opinions on the current state of peace and war in the country.

Ms. Sabrina Himat one of the participants said:

“Organizing such programs undoubtedly help in youth’s empowerment. Thanks to the AELSO and its professional team for such academic gatherings, and we hope this is not going to be the first and last symposium in the province. We request AELSO’s team to expand its programs and organized more such symposiums in the future and we, the youths of this province, are ready to voluntarily contribute our time and efforts.”

Mr. Nasir Ahmad Sadid Another participant of the programs said:

“Youths of the Herat province are civilized people who committed to contribute to every step taken for promoting civil and human rights values in the province. We not only support the current symposium, but hope AELSO will take more initiatives for better promotion of peace and democratic values in the province.”

The participants while receiving their certificates…

Youth symposium for peace and tolerance – Herat Province, ended up by distributing certificate of participation for the participants of the program and wishing for a free, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan.

AELSO,

Training & Communication Department

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