October, 11th – 13th, 2013 Strasbourg
Statement of Intent
The war in Afghanistan has taken a terrible toll on the Afghan people. Over the last 33 years, it is safe to presume that no Afghan within or outside of Afghanistan has failed to be impacted by the war.
We know that the situation in Afghanistan is man-made and created by governments – war-like and brutal – but can be reversed by people’s will and actions. Together we will continue to work for the right of Afghans to self determination in freedom and in harmony with nature. We know that the pre-condition for this is to end the war and the occupation by foreign troops. For this reason we once again call for the withdrawal of foreign troops, for an immediate cease fire and for negotiations among all parties involved, including women.
We know very well that the path to peace is not an easy one; it has its challenges and is not going to be achieved without sacrifices. We appeal to all Afghans: it is vital that the war in Afghanistan must not escalate into a deepening civil war.
We are convinced that peace in a free and self-determined, gender-just Afghanistan can only be achieved through active participation of civil society, especially including women. Further it needs to be supported by strong solidarity and partnership among all peace- and freedom-loving people in order to ensure peace and to put an end to harmful sectarian divisions.
The future of Afghanistan must be determined by the Afghan people and be achieved through peace in accordance with Afghan culture and United Nations Human rights declarations. Further, any peaceful solution requires looking beyond Afghanistan’s borders and engage the region as a whole.
Aid and support for Afghanistan should be channeled through a legitimate government consistent with the country’s culture and commitments to human rights as well as to decentralized, and grass roots structures. Neoliberal influence and plundering must stop; and the vision of and path for development must be imagined, developed, and created by the Afghan people. Sustainable development is a must. NATO has to take responsibility for the catastrophic civil, economic and environmental consequences of the war. Those who caused the damage must be held accountable for the destruction and damage they have inflicted.
The Afghan exile community in Europe, together with organizations of the European peace movement, will convene a conference on Paths to Peace in Afghanistan, in order to actively contribute towards achieving a peaceful and just Afghanistan. We will develop ideas for peace for and with Afghan and Afghan exile communities who have tired of war and are working for peace. Among others, the following questions will be discussed:
- How can the war in Afghanistan truly be ended, focusing particularly on pressuring the withdrawal of all intervention forces, and developing political perspectives for peace after the withdrawal of all remaining foreign troops?
- How can Afghans shape a process of peace and reconciliation that reinforces and is inseparable from achieving increased security and cooperation across the region?
- Highlight work to achieve Afghan reconciliation while overcoming authoritarian rulers (including the Karzai government, warlords and the Taliban – including Hekmatyār.) How may the threat of civil war be diminished and eliminated? What role do negotiations with the “Taliban” play (including among others the Shorish Plan)? Do they bring Afghanistan closer to peace or do they endanger emancipatory processes? How may the work of governments, civil societies and peace movements best be integrated to develop processes for regional conflict resolution?
- How can suppression of Afghan women be stopped, and how can women’s emancipation, participation and empowerment be advanced?
- What possibilities for exist for democratization and citizen participation under the authoritarian Afghan regime, and how can Afghan civil society grow through its activities as with the support of international solidarity organizations?
- From the perspective of forces of peace, such as anti-neoliberal development organizations, what can be done to achieve sustainable development in Afghanistan? What do “help for self-help” and independent access to resources mean today? Do we need a new definition of development in Afghanistan? How can agricultural sustainability and food sovereignty be acieved? What does it mean for Afghanistan to overcome the neoliberal development model?
- What can be done for the empowerment of people, especially for the women, in Afghanistan?
- What can be done internationally to support an independent Afghan civil society with its decentralized projects in Afghanistan?
- What role should international organizations, especially the United Nations, play in the “post 2014”-process?
- Given existing tensions, how can the fragmented forces in Afghan exile communities and in Afghanistan work together to develop new coalitions for “participation and democracy, peace and development”. Does this require an international platform?
You are kindly invited to participate in this process and to take the opportunity provided by the conference in Strasbourg.