n recent weeks, cities across Afghanistan have experienced a spate of attacks targeting activists from civil society, human rights workers and members of the media. In these attacks, hundreds were killed, and Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi blamed the Taliban for some assassinations throughout the region. The group has denied participation in the assaults.
For the first time, Muslim clerics from India and Afghanistan jointly released a statement denouncing Afghanistan’s war as “illegitimate” and calling on the Taliban to avoid attacks targeting civilian institutions and public facilities.
According to a statement released by the Afghan foreign ministry on Thursday, the declaration was issued following a meeting of clerics from the two countries held at the Islamic Cultural Centre of India in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The “First meeting of Islamic scholars of Afghanistan and India” brought together religious scholars and “ulema” or clerics from the two countries’ various Islamic institutions. A joint statement issued by the meeting called for an immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan.
“The war and violence perpetrated by the Taliban against the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the targeting by the Taliban of civilian institutions and public infrastructure goes against the fundamental teachings of Islam and is therefore illegal and has no religious justification,” the statement said.
The declaration added: “Islam is a religion of peace and it urges harmony and unity among Muslims, hence we call on both warring parties in Afghanistan to stop war and declare an immediate nationwide ceasefire.”
The Taliban and the Afghan government were called upon by scholars and clerics from both countries to “rise to the occasion and seize this rare opportunity to accelerate their negotiations to establish a just and lasting peace in Afghanistan.”
“We support the measures taken by Afghanistan’s government to pave the way for a durable peace,” the statement said.
Noting that in the past 19 years, Afghanistan has made remarkable progress in different fields, the scholars and clerics called for the “hard-won achievements to be maintained and protected.”
“We call on other ulema and Islamic scholars to come forward in support of the peace process in Afghanistan and raise their voice against the heinous attacks on innocent people and to call on the Taliban to agree to a nationwide ceasefire and embrace peace,” the declaration said.
In recent weeks, cities across Afghanistan have witnessed a spate of attacks targeting activists from civil society, human rights workers and members of the media. In these attacks, hundreds were killed, and Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi blamed the Taliban for some assassinations throughout the region. The group has denied participation in the assaults.
The attacks have led to questions and concerns about the troubled peace talks between government representatives and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.
After a recent visit by a high-level Taliban delegation to Islamabad to address the peace process, several videos emerged of Taliban leaders admitting that the top leadership of the group is based in Pakistan and that all decisions relating to peace talks are being consulted. The videos also showed Taliban leaders in Pakistan visiting terror training camps.
Reacting to these videos, the Afghan foreign ministry said the “overt presence and activities of Afghan insurgent elements and their leaders in Pakistani territory clearly violate Afghanistan’s national sovereignty and continue to cause crisis and instability in the region”. It urged the Pakistan government “not to allow its territory to be used by insurgents and elements who insist on continuing the war”.
From some news agency