Toronto protest calls for ‘intra-ethnic’ dialogue in Afghanistan talks

TORONTO – A group of Afghan citizens held a protest in Toronto, urging parties involved in Afghanistan’s future to adopt the term “intra-ethnic dialogue” rather than “intra-Afghan dialogue.”

The Doha meeting, starting Sunday under the leadership of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, is expected to focus on appointing a UN special envoy for Afghanistan. This envoy is tasked with facilitating dialogue among Afghanistan’s leaders.

Protestors, in a joint resolution, criticized the “blanket use” of the term “Afghan” for all ethnic groups in Afghanistan, claiming it predominantly refers to the Pashtun ethnicity. They argue that the current situation under Taliban rule has made the societal gap in Afghanistan more evident than ever.

The resolution asserts that UN efforts over the past four decades have failed due to the oversight of ethnic divisions in Afghanistan. It claims that enforcing a national identity under the “Afghan” term has hindered nation-building efforts.

While commending the UN’s initiative to appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan, protestors emphasized the need for this envoy to include representatives of all ethnicities in discussions for establishing a multiethnic government.