add: An Afghan community meeting in Washington DC area drew more than 500 participants and adopted the following resolution after four hours of debate and exchange of ideas in a democratic setting. Several Afghans from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also attended the meeting, which was covered by the local and international media.
Text of the Resolution Adopted by the Washington DC Metropolitan Area's Afghan Community Concerning Recent Developments in Afghanistan
1. The Afghan community in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan region reiterates its strong condemnation of the terrorist acts perpetrated on September 11, 2001 in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Community members convey their outrage, and express their deepest sympathy with the victims' families and the American people.
2. The community reiterates that Afghans are against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, especially when unjustly portrayed in terms of religion and race. We urge the public and media to differentiate between terrorists and followers of a particular religion or citizens of a country. Afghans consider terrorism as being contrary to their religion, culture and traditions.
3. We believe that the people of Afghanistan are themselves victims of terrorism and suffer under the oppressive Taliban regime in their own country. We ask the international community to assist the Afghan nation in eradicating the threats of terrorism and oppression in Afghanistan.
4. The community supports all international efforts to combat terrorism, but strongly cautions that civilians not become targets of retaliatory actions in the fight against terrorism.
5. The community asks that the inalienable rights of the Afghan people to self-determination, the preservation of Afghanistan's national unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty be respected in accordance with international and Islamic laws. We are concerned about the brazen foreign interferences from some neighboring countries. Afghans, in particular, strongly condemn continued Pakistani aggression against Afghanistan.
6. The community supports the Emergency Loya Jirga (Grand Constituent Assembly) process headed by former Afghan King M. Zahir Shah, and the formation of the Grand Council of National Unity, to pave the way for the establishment of a legitimate, proportionally representative and broad-based interim government, including the formation of a national army, reflecting the national unity of the people of Afghanistan and their national interests. We ask the international community to assist the Afghan people for the successful convening of such an assembly.
7. We ask that the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Countries play an important role in conjunction with Afghan efforts for the restoration of the conditions of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
8. The community adheres to the principles of democracy and human rights, especially the restoration of the rights of women in Afghanistan, and their active participation in Afghan peace processes.
9. The community requests that serious consideration be given by the international community, in terms of resource allocation and policy planning, for the reconstruction, rehabilitation and refugee resettlement efforts in Afghanistan.
Adopted at a community gathering on November 4, 2001 - George Mason University, Virginia.
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