Afghanistan has hardly been at peace for four decades now – one occupying power after another comes and goes, Taliban rule spreads, social and ethnic divisions increase. In February 2020, a “historic” deal was struck between the USA and the Taliban and a so-called “peace agreement” was signed. But how peaceful is this process and does it have the potential to create real peace for the Afghan people?
We have brought three people on board to share their perspectives and approaches to the events in Afghanistan with us. Asghar Merzada tells us from Kabul about his association ‘Drop and Ride’, the Afghan researcher Dr Orzala Nemet for Alsharq-Reisen and Wais Kauomee from Dis:orient approaches the topic through his own Afghan roots and family. A colourful mixture of Afghan input that is sometimes sad, sometimes hopeful and always interesting.
My name is Asghar and I founded the Drop and Ride organisation in Kabul in 2016. The name of the organisation comes from “Drop”, to lay down a weapon and as an alternative to riding a bicycle, “Ride”. Drop and Ride emerged from an initiative of young people who had set themselves the goal of founding a cycling club and addressing social problems through sport. Today it is an important and unique program in a crisis-ridden and dangerous city like Kabul. It is particularly noteworthy that the club makes sporting activities possible for boys and girls. Drop and Ride aims to create a safe space for sport, socialising and education for the youth of Kabul. The club currently has 50 members and is open to all interested parties.
Dr. Orzala Nemat, an internationally renowned Afghanistan expert, has led and worked with various grassroots, national and international organisations for over 20 years of her professional life and has experienced first-hand what it is like to be a war refugee in Pakistan for fourteen years.
She is an expert in political ethnography, holds a PhD in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and an MSc in Development Planning from University College London (UCL).
My name is Wais Kauomee and I am originally from Afghanistan. I was born in Peshawar Pakistan in 1990 as a refugee during the Afghan civil war. We made it to Germany with our family just before Taliban came to power. But even after decades, I can’t let go. Quite the opposite, because my life was and still is too strongly characterised by the events on the ground. Today, I feel closer than ever to Afghanistan and West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region. Starting with a trip to Tunisia and Jordan, my path led me to the dis:orient association, where I met interesting people who also deal with issues relating to the WANA region in a critical, reflective and realistic way. When I’m not talking about WANA, I like to do sports or spend time with family and friends, where I can switch off best.