A miraculous meeting for peace held in an Afghan village

– A ceasefire was realized between the Afghan government and the Taliban. In order to cut the chain of still-continuing violence. –

[Original (June 18, 2018); Translated by K. Takemura]

Good & bad news

Together with Taliban soldiers armed with weapons. The JVC staff Sabirullah (left) holds a placard saying “peace”.

The situation of Afghanistan is dramatically changing these days. To our surprise, a ceasefire for three days was realized between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban for the first time. And a miraculous meeting for peace was held in a village, where one of the JVC staff comes from.
At the same time, suicide attacks occurred to target such moves.
We got the surprising news on the Friday night of June 16, 2018. It says, “There was an explosion in the close range of people who gathered to celebrate the ceasefire between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, the holidays to mark the end of Ramadan.”
As a matter of fact, this ceasefire was realized for the first time since the military intervention by foreign countries after September 11, 2001. It was first proposed by President Ashraf Ghani, accepted by the Taliban and realized in the period of June 15 -17, 2018 on the occasion of Eid al Fitr. Incredible scenes were observed on the media that the members of the Taliban and the security forces of the government hugged each other, as the Taliban was able to enter the government-controlled areas in this period.

Young villagers express joy of ceasefire riding on a military vehicle.

However, the suicide attack occurred and harmed people who celebrated the ceasefire: 36 were killed and 65 were injured. The victims include the members of the security forces of the government, the Taliban and civilians. The place is not very far from the project areas of JVC. The organization which calls itself “IS” claimed responsibility. It threatened to attack all groups adhering to the ceasefire.
On the next Sunday, June 17, another suicide attack occurred in Jalalabad where the JVC office is located, and 19 were killed and about 60 were injured. It is said that the attack aimed at vehicles of the Taliban, leaving the area near the Provincial Government compound. Does it mean that the Taliban had a meeting with the government? Really? And why were civilians involved in the victims too at all?

Villagers realized a miraculous meeting for peace

The discussion meeting for the government and the Taliban arranged by the young villagers, elderly leaders and a JVC staff involved in this initiative personally.

The meeting described in the above was in fact a dialogue between the citizens and the Provincial Governor, which was suggested in another meeting held in a village on the day before. A staff member of JVC was actively involved in the latter meeting personally.
On this occasion of ceasefire, a big movement occurred in Memla, the village where the staff member of JVC comes from, to extend the ceasefire. He played an important role in this movement personally in cooperation with other young villagers. They discussed if they can arrange a meeting to talk about the possibility to extend the ceasefire by inviting members of the Taliban, the government, and media. There were a lot of problems to overcome, for example, the Taliban did not agree to use the place of governmental facility for the meeting and they refused the media. However, the villagers finally realized the meeting partly with the help of elderly leaders.
It seems that Afghanistan is domination by force, but in reality, even those who are engaged in armed fight eagerly seek peace. The amazing meeting was made possible by the mediation of civilians. There were several thousands of participants. The government and the Taliban discussed many issues, including the presence of the US Military and the relations to neighboring countries. Citizens said, “We are victims. We hope nothing but peace.”
Finally, they came to the conclusion that they would appeal to the Provincial Governor for extending the ceasefire as a spontaneous request of the citizens. In this meeting with the Provincial Governor, some members of the Taliban also attended through the arrangement by governmental officials. The suicide attack occurred outside the building just after the meeting. Many civilians were also sacrificed.

The children of Memla hold up placards saying “peace”.

Villagers appeal to the Provincial Governor for extending the ceasefire.

Further actions are necessary to cut the chain of violence

Although the President announced the extension of ceasefire, the Taliban did not accept it. It is reported that the Taliban started to attack the government security forces after the end of the ceasefire.
Nevertheless we have to keep in mind that many people enjoyed the temporary ceasefire, including citizens, governmental soldiers, and the Taliban members. It should also be recalled that a number of people are involved in the meeting at the village in order to seek peace.
We pray for the souls of those who passed away because of incidents during ceasefire and express our condolences to their families, relatives and friends. On this occasion, JVC makes the following requests.

  1. We welcome the ceasefire which was realized for the first time between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban and request that ceasefire be extended.
  2. We condemn violence to citizens and persons outside of fighting and request immediate cessation of violence.
  3. We request that all those concerned and the international community will take all the necessary actions for the progress of the peace process.

Link to Joint Statement “We request for extension of ceasefire, cessation of violence and progress on peace process in Afghanistan”

We cannot solve problems by violence. Violence only produces sorrow and anger. JVC makes an appeal to the public for it and will build peace by nonviolence.

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