Religious scholars and provincial authorities expressed their commitment to a long-term peace in Afghanistan during a UNAMA-backed assembly in Pul-e-Khumri city, the provincial capital of northeastern Baghlan province.
Abdul Satar Bariz, the Provincial Governor, said that a lasting peace and an extension of literacy among the population were essential factors in development progress.
More than 225 people took part in the event, including 150 religious scholars representing all 15 districts of the province, representatives of the provincial council, religious affairs office and provincial peace committee, along with local media and UNAMA staff.
The gathering provided an opportunity for key religious scholars and governmental officials to share views on the peace process, to identify local challenges to peace initiatives and strengthen connections between participants.
Speakers discussed how to reach a sustainable peace in the community including through good governance, touching also on the fight against corruption and development of existing religious schools.
Mr. Bariz said the assembly was important because it brought together such a large number of key religious scholars -- from throughout the province -- who expressed their support to government as part of the peace process.
Baghlan province -- sandwiched between Kunduz to the north and Kabul in the south -- is experiencing ongoing insecurity which is badly affecting people’s access to basic rights, such as education and health, and impeding provincial development.
Participants agreed on a resolution that acknowledged the effect of the ongoing conflict on the community, while also including proposals to bring about peace in the province. They expressed a commitment to further spread the message of peace and to encourage local militants to join the peace process.
Parts of the event were broadcast throughout the province, reaching an estimated audience of 500,000 people with peace-related information.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides good offices; promotes coherent development support by the international community; supports the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.