20th Death Anniversary of Massoud, one who sacrificed his life to make the modern-day Afghanistan was celebrated by organising a high-level symposium in Embassy of Afghanistan in Rome, Italy.
The event titled “Afghanistan, Taliban and the Future” was attended by several people including Yara Ehm, Member of the Italian Parliament and Commission on Foreign Affairs, Gabriela Colarusso, La Repubblica’s foreign affairs correspondent, Gaja Pellegrini, Margherita Stancati from the Wall Street Journal and other representatives of the international and local media.
The Diplomatic Missions of Ireland and the Czech Republic were represented by their Deputy Heads of Mission.
Khalid Zekriya, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Italy spoke about the need for the International community to recognise that Afghanistan today is in the hands of a government of terrorists who did not represent the Afghan hopes and dreams which were sown by the blood of “martyrs like Ahmad Shah Massoud.”
“Massoud’s sacrifice was important because it laid the basis for the modern state of Afghanistan; something that Pakistan backed Taliban government will try and destroy in the days to come. Afghans, however, are resilient people and the scenes today of women protesting will be more common in the coming days and months,” said Khalid Zekriya.
Honouring the sacrifice of the Italian soldiers he also remembers that thousands of Afghan soldiers have laid down their lives for defending their homeland. Khalid Zekriya said, “The narrative that the Afghan defence forces just collapsed was a terrible propaganda, as since 2012 most of the fighting was being done by Afghan soldiers.”
Zakariya even mentioned that there is more to what meets the eye. Without direct orders from above, the Afghan defence forces would not have folded, he added.
Laura Harth, the human rights activist, spoke of the importance of a global alliance to protect freedom and democracy. She recounted their recent battles to assist democracy in Hong Kong against Chinese oppression and feared that the violence would be much more in Afghanistan against women, journalists and minorities.
Emilio Ciarlo of the Italian Agency for cooperation and development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke of the need for national building. He underlined the risks of an unstable Afghanistan for the world. “The failure of the West to assist democracy will reverberate in the Balkans as well as North Africa and will be a danger to Europe, with the increase in the flow of narcotics as well as weapons and a more militant Islam.”
Fausto Biloslavo, a veteran journalist, who just returned from Panjshir to Kabul joined virtually. He underlined the suspension of rights of journalists and the fear of the local population currently. Biloslavo stated that the people are gathering to vent out their disaffection with the Taliban and their morale is high and the resistance will expand its support and reach.
“It was all like a castle of sand which collapsed in a few days,” said FawziaKoofi, Parliamentarian in the previous government, describing the fall of Kabul. She requested the world community to support the rights and freedom for women and children and check the transgression of the Taliban towards the minorities and weaker sections.
Ahmed Wali Massoud, the brother of the slain leader 20 years ago, who joined virtually summarised the evening, paying tribute to his brother and his vision for Afghanistan.
He stated that it is important that the world carefully follow the alleged Pakistani involvement in the country as this will only lead to further destabilisation. Afghanistan needs to be inclusive and a country for all, beyond ethnic and religious lines.