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When We Look at You, We Know Peace Is Possible

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To the Taliban and the armed groups I say to you:

You love your people. You want Afghanistan to be a better country. Do you want them to continue for a long time suffering, and dying, and living in poverty?

I know in your hearts, Taliban and armed groups, it's not what you wanted. You started your struggle to have a better way for the Afghan people. But you don't.

Because if you want a better Afghanistan, you must choose better means to bring about a good Afghanistan. Bad means cannot bring about good results. Your means must be consistent with your ends.

And if you really love the Afghan people and want a better future for them, put up your arms and enter into dialogue with the government.

I appeal to the Afghan government, that they enter into dialogue with the Taliban and the armed groups.

There cannot be a solution without the groups who are part of the problem of a way forward in Afghanistan. All inclusive unconditional talks around the table to solve this problem.

In Northern Ireland it was the only way that we could get a solution. We acknowledged, and the Afghan government and the Taliban will surely acknowledge... there will not be a military solution or a paramilitary armed solution to what our deep ethnic, political, economic, human problems... they can only be solved in a human, compassionate, loving way, not by militarism and war.

And most especially to the US to the UK and to NATO forces:

Withdraw from Afghanistan. You're doing more damage by being here and using military force.

The use of drones on an innocent people is not acceptable in a civilized community. It is against international law and human rights to bomb innocent civilians. There have been over 400 drone bombs dropped by the allied forces on people in their villages. You've dropped them on weddings, you've dropped them on people working in the mountains collecting wood to warm their homes because they're cold and hungry. This is against all international law and human rights and are indeed crimes against humanity to be using these methods against a civilian population.

So we appeal to them. The allied forces, NATO, the US -- they will say they are here to help the people.

How do you help a people? By giving them military aid worth billions, but then dividing it up? Sixty percent of the military aid that comes in here from the west is used to maintain the infrastructure of the military forces, to provide them with all their needs.

A great percent of it then goes to contractors who are then not fulfilling their obligations to make roads, hospitals and schools for the Afghan people.

What is left for the Afghan people? Nothing.

We have met women here who are living in absolute poverty, trying to rear their children, trying to feed them, hungry and cold. And they have received nothing in the way of aid coming into this country. So that is not working.

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www.peacepeople.com

Mairead Corrigan-Maguire was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her extraordinary actions to help end the deep ethnic/political conflict in her native Northern Ireland. She shares the award with Betty Williams.

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