Ambassador Haidari Welcomes Statement by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress on the Afghan Peace Process

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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari welcomes with appreciation the statement by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) on the Afghan Peace Process. SLMC’s statement, issued on March 15, 2021, follows those of other Muslim communities and Ulema around the world, calling for an immediate end to the daily acts of terrorism and violence perpetrated by the Taliban and their affiliated groups that victimize innocent Afghan citizens.

“We unequivocally condemn the ongoing terror attacks taking place in Afghanistan and wish to point out that there is no Islamic justification whatsoever for such indiscriminate violence to achieve political objectives,” notes the statement. Drawing on Sri Lanka’s own years of war, SLMC points out that “the Sri Lankan nation has suffered immensely and has sacrificed many lives due to political violence. Acts of terror to achieve political objectives, unfortunately, target innocent civilians, including children and women, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or religion.”

Hence, SLMC timely calls on “all parties to the Afghan conflict to avoid escalating violence” and to “commit to achieving sustainable and dignified peace.” At the same time, SLMC highlights decades of suffering inflicted on the Afghan people and hopes that “all stakeholders in the Afghan peace process would work together to end Afghanistan’s conflict and to ensure that the Afghan people will enjoy the dividends of permanent peace, following war termination.”

Ambassador Haidari commented: “Even though we were not a party to the US-Taliban deal, the government of Afghanistan made an unprecedented concession for the sake of peace: releasing over 5,000 Taliban prisoners. In return, rather than deescalating violence and committing to a ceasefire, the Taliban have violated their own commitments under the US deal, daily targeting more civilians across the country. We encourage the Taliban to shed foreign control and to pursue independently a path to sustainable peace, consistent with the achievements of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan over the past 20 years.”

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Full text of the SLMC statement:

Statement by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress on the Afghan Peace Process

March 15, 2021

Colombo: - Sri Lanka Muslim Congress supports the peace process in Afghanistan and appeals to all parties to end violence and commit to achieving sustainable and dignified peace.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress wishes to appeal to all parties to the Afghan conflict to avoid escalating violence, which will undoubtedly be counterproductive to attaining lasting peace.

The indiscriminate violent attacks, which are frequently reported, have the potential to derail the much-hyped nascent peace process. We have followed developments in Afghanistan with grave concern. The Sri Lankan nation has suffered immensely and has sacrificed many lives due to political violence. Acts of terror to achieve political objectives, unfortunately, target innocent civilians, including children and women, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or religion.

We unequivocally condemn the ongoing terror attacks taking place in Afghanistan and wish to point out that there is no Islamic justification whatsoever for such indiscriminate violence to achieve political objectives.

A proper roadmap for peace with mutually agreed confidence-building measures is an urgent need to be considered as top priority to resume negotiations. The Afghan government’s decision to release over 5000 Taliban prisoners as a major concession for peacemaking and reconciliation was a step in the right direction. But it is unfortunate that such concession has not had the desired effect.

Relevant lessons learned from other peace processes must be carefully considered to suit the Afghan situation. Furthermore, the need for an agreed mediation process, underpinned and supervised by the international community with the full involvement of important regional powers in the neighborhood, is imperative for successfully finalizing a peace process. The dangerous stalemate, which is developing in the Afghan process, should not be allowed to persist any further.

Considering the four-decade-long suffering of the Afghan people, we hope that all stakeholders in the Afghan peace process would work together to end Afghanistan’s conflict and to ensure that the Afghan people will enjoy the dividends of permanent peace, following war termination.

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