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‘Afghanistan Has Changed’: Post-2001 Generation On Prospects Of Peace With Taliban

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Frud Bezhan

An Afghan National Army soldier poses with a poppy near the village of Karizonah, Afghanistan. The poppy crop is a major source of funding for extremist groups involved in the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts via US Airforce

Talk of peace in Afghanistan is ramping up, with the United States and the Taliban negotiating and Kabul preparing to host hundreds of ethnic, religious, and tribal leaders to settle on a road map for ending nearly 18 years of war.

But while those born after the U.S. invasion in 2001 make up around half of Afghanistan’s population of 33 million, their voice has largely gone unheard.

RFE/RL spoke with Afghans born after the fall of the Taliban regime to see how they feel about the prospect of the fundamentalist movement officially returning to the fold.

Zekeria 18

“Afghanistan has changed,” says Zekeria, a high-school graduate from the capital, Kabul. “We won’t let the Taliban force their ideas on us again.”

During its brutal rule from 1996-2001, the Taliban oppressed women, massacred ethnic and religious minorities, and banned TV and music. The religious zealots controlled every aspect of life — forcing men to pray and grow beards and women to cover from head to toe. They beat, amputated, or executed anyone who contravened their draconian laws.

“We don’t want to be suffocated,” Zekeria adds. “The Taliban can’t be allowed to control every part of our lives again.”

The Taliban’s adherence to ultraconservative Islam and the Pashtun tribal code has struck a chord with some currently living under the movement’s thumb in rural Afghanistan, which has borne the brunt of the war and where life has improved little.

But those ideas are largely alien in major urban centers that have witnessed major social, economic, and democratic gains over the past 18 years.

“The Taliban are Afghans and they can be part of our society,” Zekeria says. “But their role in society must be restricted. It can’t be like before.”

Marie Ekram, 17

“I support the peace process with the Taliban, but only if women’s freedoms are safeguarded,” says Ekram, a high school student from the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif, a relatively peaceful and prosperous region near the border with Central Asia.

The Taliban was notorious for its treatment of women, banning them from working or going to school. Since 2001, millions of girls have gone back to school, women have joined to the workforce, and dozens of women are members of parliament.

In recent months, the militant group has suggested it is committed to guaranteeing women their rights, although only in accordance with their strict interpretation of Islam.

“Under no circumstances do we want a peace deal that sacrifices our freedoms and democracy,” says Ekram. “That wouldn’t be peace at all.”

As an Islamic republic, Afghanistan’s laws and constitution are based on Islam, although there are more liberal and democratic elements within it.

The Taliban has said it will demand changes to the constitution as part of any peace deal with the Afghan government, which to this point the Taliban has refused to directly negotiate with as it conducts talks with the United States in Qatar.

But Ekram is adamant that the constitution should not be changed.

“It is already based on Islam,” she says. “If the Taliban return and try to force women to stay at home and not work this would be against the law. The Taliban can be part of a future Afghanistan, but only if they adapt to the new Afghanistan.”

Nawid Sherzad, 18

“If the Taliban accept our new society, then we should sign a peace settlement with them,” says Sherzad, a high school graduate in Herat, a city of strategic, commercial, and cultural significance located in western Afghanistan. “But if they don’t, then we must continue fighting them.”

Sherzad is among the more than 82 percent of Afghans who have no sympathy for the Taliban, according to the Asia Foundation’s 2018 survey.

The Taliban has been projecting itself as a more moderate force, pledging not to “monopolize power” in Afghanistan. But Sherzad does not believe that the militants — a largely Pashtun, tribal, and rural group — have changed.

“We can’t accept the Taliban the way they are,” he says. “They will reverse our gains in terms of education, women’s rights, and our independent media.”

Despite being self-appointed defenders of Islam, the Taliban’s version of the religion is “wrong,” says Sherzad.

“Under Islam, men and women are equal and education is a right,” he says. “But they don’t accept this. They talk about upholding Islam, but they don’t even understand Islam.”

Shogofa 18

“We only want peace if every Afghan has rights and our country has development,” says Shogofa, a resident of the southern city of Kandahar.

Afghanistan’s second-largest city, Kandahar has been an oasis of relative peace in southern Afghanistan, where the insurgency is strongest and local sympathy for the insurgency is highest.

Before the U.S.-led invasion, the United Nations said 7.5 million Afghans faced starvation. Even then, the Taliban restricted the presence of aid groups in Afghanistan.

The Taliban regime generated most of their money from opium cultivation, Islamic taxes on citizens, and handouts from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, the only three countries that recognized it. The Taliban failed to provide basic needs and Kabul lay in tatters after the devastating civil war from 1992-96.

Even now, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world despite billions in international aid. But economic development, life expectancy, and Afghans’ access to running water, electricity, and medicine has improved, although progress has been uneven across the country.

“We want a peace agreement with the Taliban that improves our daily lives,” says Shogofa. “We want to go forward not backward.”

Lotfullah, 18

“The Taliban killed my father,” says Lotfullah, a semiprofessional cricket player in the eastern city of Jalalabad. “But for the interests of my country, I’m prepared to support peace with the Taliban.”

Jalalabad, near the border with Pakistan, has been wracked by deadly bombings by the Taliban and more recently by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Lotfullah says many in the region yearn for peace. But he says it must compensate for the huge sacrifices Afghans have made over the past 18 years.

“We have all sacrificed a lot in the war against the Taliban,” he says. “Thousands of our soldiers and citizens have been killed.”

The UN said 3,804 civilians were killed and 7,189 wounded as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan in 2018, the deadliest on record since 2009.

“Peace with the Taliban has to suit the country’s interests,” he says. “The progress we have made must be sustained. Otherwise, we don’t want peace.”

(Writtenby Frud Bezhan, with reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan correspondents Tameem Akhgar in Kabul, Shapoor Saber in Herat, Mujib Habibzai in Mazar-e Sharif, Shah Mahmud Shinwary in Jalalabad, and Sadiq Rishtinai in Kandahar)

Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036





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India News Brief

 3 June, 2020

Several Parts of Maharashtra Witness Strong Winds as Cyclone Nisarga Makes Landfall

Cyclone Nisarga Passes Mumbai Heads Towards Pune

India's COVID-19 Figure Reaches 2,08,709 Death Toll: 5,834

India's Most Affected States:

Maharashtra: Total Positive Cases 72,300 Total Deaths: 2,465

Gujarat: Total Positive Cases: 17,632 Total Deaths: 1,092

Madhya Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 8,420 Total Deaths: 364

West Bengal: Total Positive Cases: 6,168 Total Deaths: 335

Delhi: Total Positive Cases: 22,132 Total Deaths: 556

Rajasthan: Total Positive Cases: 9,475 Total Deaths: 203

Uttar Pradesh: Total Positive  Cases: 8,870 Total Deaths: 230

Tamil Nadu : Total Positive Cases: 25,872 Total Deaths: 208

Andhra Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 3,791 Total Deaths: 68

Telengana: Total Positive Cases: 2,891 Total Deaths: 92

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Lockdown extends till June 30

  • International air travel, Metro rail services not allowed 

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will not allowed.

  • Places of worship, hotels will open from June 8 with specific guidelines.

According to MHA guidelines, in Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories.

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movement

But  states have the freedom to decide on public movement.

COVID-19: Delhi Death Toll Rises to 82 in Last 24 Hours

Probable Guidelines for Lockdown 5.0.

More travel routes are likely to open in Lockdown 5.0.

From June 1, the Railways will operate 100 pairs of mail or express trains, bookings have already begun. Then AC class services will resume.

Some states have already begun intra-state buses. Other states may  begin intra-tate bus services after June 1.Metro  services may begin in a limited manner, with lesser passenger capacity, social distancing norms and longer stops at each station.

Shops selling non-essential items were allowed to open during Lockdown 4.0.. More shops may open in Lockdown 5.0 even in markets.But no confirmed news regarding opening of shopping malls.Now many shops that have re-opened in market areas are operating on an odd-even basis.

Some cities have already allowed salons and beauty parlours to open with strict social distancing guidelines and wearing protective gear is a must.In containment areas the same rule may prevail in Lockdown 5.0.

The Human Resource Development Ministry of India will soon announce the guidelines of   schools reopening.

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

 

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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