Friday, May 09, 2008

Afghan intellectuals criticise US, NATO operations

KABUL (AFP) - About 3,000 Afghan politicians and intellectuals criticised Thursday the international military campaign against Islamic militants in Afghanistan and called for dialogue to ending the fighting.

"Today our elders, children and women are captured and jailed," civil society activist Daud Mirakai, one of the founders of the new National Peace Jirga of Afghanistan, told the crowd.

"Today, they (foreign forces) break through our doors while our women are sleeping," he continued, raising a highly emotive issue among Pashtuns that prompted shouts of "Allahu akbar" (God is greater).

Mirakai said international forces claimed to have brought peace and democracy to Afghanistan but this was not true.

Instead "people are forced to abandon their villages under the shells and mortars of US forces and their allies who are killing people first and asking questions later," he said.

Pashtuns were main victims of the unrest, he said, claiming the ethnic group which has ruled for the past two centuries had been pushed aside by the government of President Hamid Karzai, himself a Pashtun.

"Peace in Afghanistan is impossible when Pashtuns are targeted from the air and ground on a daily basis," he added, referring to military operations.


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