17 August 2021
SAAPE extends its solidarity to women, men and children of Afghanistan who are once again at the toxic crossroads of war and violence, political instability and an uncertain future.
The return of the Taliban in the Afghanistan government is a setback for the progressive forces in the world, particularly for South Asia. We condemn the forcible takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban fighters. Their victory is not at all a sign of stability and peace but a perpetuation of the civil war. The establishment of another religious fanatic state in South Asia will promote religious sectarianism throughout the region and anti-peace measures will continue. We apprehend that a theocratic state that the Taliban intends to install will not only be disastrous for Afghanistan but also for its neighbours and beyond.
We as South Asians, committed to a long-term just peace in the region, understand and empathise with our Afghan friends who have suffered over two decades of war, political crisis, economic destitution, total collapse of basic services such as clean water, basic public health care, safe housing and uninterrupted education. We stand in solidarity with Afghan women and girls who have regularly suffered due to the denial of women’s right to education and right to work. We understand that they have suffered over and above the structural and well-entrenched barriers of patriarchy. The devastating multi-prong impact of the COVID-19 pandemic adds to the misery and gravity of the situation now facing women, girls and the Afghan people.
We call upon the South Asian governments to take a public and principled position in favour of Afghan people and denounce any external interference in the name of peace and conflict resolution.
We demand that the UN and the international community take immediate and sincere efforts to resolve the political crisis which has brought tragic humanitarian devastation. Any such efforts must prioritise the Afghan people’s rights and dignity. Providing relief in the remote regions of Afghanistan has become urgent.
We urge the governments of South Asia and the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan to ensure safe passage and provide asylum to the fleeing refugees especially vulnerable families.
We condemn the proxy war that has escalated around Afghanistan involving regional and global powers as it contributes to the exacerbation of humanitarian crisis and vulnerability.
We condemn imperialist or other foreign invasions and occupations that that has played a huge role in fomenting the current crisis. We denounce the widespread corruption and misgovernance or the lack of governance in Afghanistan that has created this kind of situation and perhaps, have legitimised the Taliban actions.
We are concerned about the South Asian regional inter-governmental mechanism, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) being a mute spectator and not having any role to address this regional issue of major significance. We urge the governments of South Asia to review their positions and find avenues for revitalising the SAARC to ensure people's dignity and sovereignty in the region.
On behalf of SAAPE members