A refugee from Afghanistan living in Manchester has welcomed the first peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
The Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar began talks with Kabul’s government team, headed by former national CEO Abdullah Abdullah, last month in Qatar’s capital Doha.
And Gulwali Passarlay, a Manchester based author and campaigner for refugee rights, thinks talks can only be successful in putting an end to twenty years of fighting if both sides recognise each other.
He said: “Negotiations, dialogue and discussion is always better than violence but there has been an increase in violence in Afghanistan.
“Overall I am happy that negotiations are happening but not happy that it’s happening in Doha.
“I wanted this to happen in Afghanistan and for both sides to recognise each other, but they can’t even agree a code of conduct.
“I remain hopeful but the way the talks have been going it’s very disappointing that they can’t even agree on a framework.”
War has displaced millions of Afghans, many fled to neighbouring Pakistan and some continued their journey from there.
At the end of 2018 more than a hundred and twenty six thousand Afghan refugees were living in the UK, according to UNHCR figures.
There have been multiple attacks throughout Afghanistan this month alone, killing dozens of Afghan civilians.
The question remains about stability for future generations, Passarlay describes his hopes for those still living in war: “I want Afghan refugees to be able to return, I want young Afghans not to have to flee for their lives.
“I want them to have opportunities, and safety and security.
“These are not just words they have deep meaning because we have suffered for the last 40 years.
“My grandfather was a refugee, my father was a refugee and now I am a refugee.
“This has to stop somewhere, this cycle of violence, suffering and crimes against humanity.”
Despite this, he said people are not losing hope, the youth are trying to get an education to contribute to rebuilding their country.
Photo credit: Topher McGrillis