AAF Calls for an Immediate and Permanent Ceasefire in Afghanistan
Updated: Sep 15
Call for an Immediate and Permanent Ceasefire in Afghanistan
We, as members of the Afghan-American diaspora and undersigned allies, are mourning the loss of more than 90 lives, the majority of whom were children, heinously targeted and murdered because of their gender and ethnicity in Afghanistan. Among the 250 injured are educators and pedestrians. For years, our community has heard and issued statements in reaction to the ongoing atrocities committed against the Afghan people. As the people of Afghanistan continue to be killed on a daily basis, statements, letters and public calls have all fallen on deaf ears. Terrorist groups are committing war crimes daily with a drastic intensification in the last few months.
When the international community and the United States initiated negotiations with the Taliban, there was hope that the violence suffered by the Afghan people would abate. It is now abundantly clear that the agreement negotiated by the Trump Administration with the Taliban was ill-conceived. It has failed to push the Taliban to commit to a ceasefire, to engage meaningfully in negotiations with the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, or to bring about any reduction of violence. In arranging an exit from Afghanistan, the international community has risked burning the house down on the way out.
Despite Secretary Blinken’s proclamation that US foreign policy will reflect “American values, including a commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and a belief in the dignity of every individual,” the Biden administration has been dismissive of the quickly devolving situation in Afghanistan for children, women, and minorities. This is disappointing to our community and if all the gains are lost, the profound sacrifices of the US service members and their families will all have been in vain.
Over the last two decades the international community has justified military intervention in Afghanistan to liberate women, girls and minorities. Yet now as we see deliberate and vicious attacks on those we claimed to want to save, we have seen silence from leaders and policymakers. The current withdrawal and exit process has left Afghanistan more vulnerable to fragmentation and has already created ethnic and sectarian enclaves, setting the stage for a civil war and terrorism. We are already seeing groups mobilizing and militarizing in that direction as armed groups in different regions of the country prepare to protect their communities. A destabilized Afghanistan will lead to regional destabilization, ongoing loss of civilian lives, and the growth of global violent extremism. A civil war in Afghanistan would engulf the region and recreate pre-9/11 conditions.
The agreement between the United States and the Taliban has gifted the Taliban the elusive international recognition and credibility they were lacking. At this moment, the United States must challenge the Taliban to demonstrate that they have a commitment to peace and
believe all Afghan citizens deserve to live without the threat of violence and terrorism. To do this, the Taliban must agree to a permanent ceasefire to ease the suffering of the Afghan people and begin a trust-building process.
They must also explicitly condemn any attack by third-parties or spoilers on the Afghan people and Afghan security forces. They must work to eradicate all such terrorists from Afghan land, block their entry and passage through the country, and stop all movement of weapons and resources.
If they fail to do so, we believe the following steps need to be taken immediately:
1) We ask the United States to engage with Qatar, Pakistan and any other nation providing Taliban safe haven, financial resources and travel privileges to immediately cease those privileges. We demand the closure of their luxuries like a Doha office which has led to a false sense of legitimacy as an internationally recognized authority. This office has been used as a propaganda tool to legitimize the Taliban’s terror campaign against the people of Afghanistan.
2) We ask that the US impose sanctions on Taliban leaders and freeze their assets and bank accounts until they agree to a permanent ceasefire.
3) We demand that the United States, the European Union and NATO countries declare the attack on the innocent girls of Sayed al-Shuhada school, the university students in Logar, and the recent heinous attacks on civil society, journalists, women, and students as war crimes under the Geneva Convention. We want the international community to recognize this as a humanitarian crisis, one that will exacerbate every existing crisis in Afghanistan and create a new wave of refugees.
4) We demand that the United States and our NATO allies affirm their support for women's rights and girls' education in deed, not only in rhetoric.
5) The United States must engage the United Nations to provide special protections to the Hazara communities who have suffered from repeated targeted attacks by the Taliban and their affiliated extremist groups, as well as other targeted minorities like the Sikh community. These attacks are an attempt to create conditions for ethnic and sectarian cleansing and conflict, mimicking what has unfolded in Syria and Iraq after the withdrawal of international forces.
While the people of Afghanistan need to determine their own future and engage in intra-Afghan peace talks, the US must not allow war crimes to transpire as a direct result of the power vacuum left by the military withdrawal. Our withdrawal protocol from Afghanistan should prioritize preserving the gains made in the last 20 years promoting an Afghanistan in which all Afghans may live their lives in peace. We must act now to prevent further transgressions on humanitarian law from occurring under our watch.
Afghan American Foundation
Afghan American Women's Association
Afghan Medical Professional Association of America
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Women for Afghan Women (WAW)
Afghanistan Advocacy Group
No One Left Behind
Center for Pluralism, DC
Sahar Education for Girls
Afghan Women Strong
Afghanistan Advocacy Group
Global Emergency Response and Assistance
Global Watch Group
Afghan Literacy Foundation
Shia Muslim Foundation
Shia Rights Group
Syria Faith Initiative
Al Baqee Organization
Muslims for Peace
Universal Muslim Association of America (UMMA)
The Association of Wartime Allies
American University Afghan Student Association
Afghan Cultural Center
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