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Afghans say preventing next war as vital as ending this one

File - In this Monday, Aug. 3, 2020 file photo, Afghan security personnel gather in front of a prison after an attack in the city of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been at war for more than 40 years, first against the invading Soviet army that killed more than 1 million people, then feuding mujahedin groups in a bitter civil war followed by the repressive Taliban rule and finally the latest war that began after the 2001 U.S.-led coalition invasion that toppled the Taliban government. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) —

At a Kabul museum honoring Afghanistan’s war victims, talking to visitors reveals just how many layers and generations of pain and grief have piled up during four decades of unrelenting conflict.

Fakhria Hayat recalled an attack that changed her family forever. It was 1995, and the Afghan capital was under siege, pounded by rockets fired by rival mujahedeen groups. Her world exploded: A rocket slammed into her yard, killing her brother and leaving her sister forever in a wheelchair.

Danish Habibi was just a child in 2000 when the Taliban overran his village in Afghanistan’s serene Bamiyan Valley. His memories of those days are re-occurring nightmares. Men were forcibly separated from wives and children. Dozens were killed. Habibi’s father disappeared only to return a beaten, broken man, never able to work again. Habibi wonders how he will be able to accept peace with the Taliban.

Reyhana Hashimi told of how her 15-year-old sister, Atifa, was killed by Afghan security forces. It was 2018. Atifa had left home to take her exams, only to get entangled in a demonstration protesting the arrest of a Hazara leader. Afghan forces opened fire on protesters.

“They shot my sister right in the heart,” Reyhana said. “No one from the government even came to apologize. They tried to say she was a protester. She wasn’t. She just wanted to write her exams.”

Today, those accumulated, unresolved grievances cast a long shadow on the intra-Afghan negotiations underway in the Gulf nation of Qatar.

Washington signed a deal with the Taliban in February to pave the way for the Doha talks and American forces’ eventual withdrawal. The Americans championed the deal as Afghanistan’s best chance at a lasting peace.

Afghans are not so sure. They say preventing the next war is as vital as ending the current one.

Afghanistan has been at war for more than 40 years. First was the Soviet invasion in 1979 and nine years of fighting. The Soviet withdrawal opened a bitter civil war in which mujahedeen factions tore the country apart battling for power and killing more than 50,000 people until the Taliban took over in 1996. The militants’ repressive rule lasted until the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Ever since, the country has been bloodied by insurgency.

About the author

Tori Holland

Tori Holland

After being a professional journalist for 5 years and understanding the ups and downs of health care sector all over the world, Tori shifted her focus to the digital world. Today, she works as a contributor for News Brig with a knack for covering general and health news in the best possible format.

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