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“The Little Picasso” : 10-Year-Old Afghan Boy Farhad Nuri Paints and Dreams in Serbian Refugee Camp

Every child has inbuilt talent, only some get the chance of polishing it

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Refugee Children
Farhad Nouri poses with a portrait of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in his room in the "Krnjaca" collective centre near Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, March 13, 2017. A 10-year-old boy from Afghanistan is known as Little Picasso among migrants in a Serbia asylum camp because of his artistic talent. Nouri, his parents and two younger brothers hope to move to Switzerland or the United States, but have been stuck in the Balkan country for months unable to cross the heavily guarded borders of the European Union. VOA
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– by Surbhi Dhawan                                                               

June 21, 2017: With eyes bright lit, a 10-year-old Afghan Boy Farhad Nuri paints his own world of happiness and courage in a peaceful corner of the world away from his home where gunshots are loud enough to kill the child in him.

Hatred and terrorism are the villains of his life who are responsible for the abandoning the feeling of home in him. It’s not a story of a single child who is suffering and is not fortunate enough of carefree childhood; it’s a story of every child playing with the terror in plastic, tin, clothes and bamboo tents.

Every child has inbuilt talent, only some get the chance of polishing it. From poets to rappers, singers to dancers, painters to writers, name it and its present in the refugee tents. These children’s only fault is to be born at the wrong place.

Ten-year-old Farhad knows where he stands amidst the other world and his own world. He distinguishes his native country Afghanistan with other countries through his drawings. He shows Afghanistan as a lady covering and isolating his face from rest of the world and rest of the world is shown as a naked face with shining eyes and a gracious smile.

Farhad’s drawings are nothing less than of a professional artist. He has made the sketches and portraits of his heroes like Salvador Dali, the legendary artist who used to paint surrealism and Angela Merkel who opened the doors of Europe for refugees. Both these heroes are close to his heart as one describes his existing conflict between dreams and reality and other helped him in escaping terrorism.

Like every other child, Farhad too wants to excel through enhancing his talent. He wants to go to a place where his dreams can bloom without the sounds of terror and inability of refugee tents. Farhad’s family is one of the many who fled Taliban to save themselves. Farhad’s paintings clearly show that talent does not discriminate and it does not promote hatred. His paintings communicate what he and hundred others like him cannot. Don’t these children have a right to a naughty smile, a carefree play, free dreams and an assured future?

– by Surbhi Dhawan of NewsGram. Twitter @surbhi_dhawan

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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

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U.S. Welcomes Pakistan’s Actions Towards Peace in Afghanistan

Pakistani officials say their influence over the Taliban has significantly declined over the years because the insurgents have gained control over large areas of Afghanistan

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Imran Khan, Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Pakistan"s Prime Minister Imran Khan is seen during talks in Beijing, China, VOA

The United States said Saturday it welcomes actions Pakistan is taking to promote a negotiated solution to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

The acknowledgement came a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced his country has arranged another round of Washington’s peace talks with the Afghan Taliban scheduled for Monday.

“The United States welcomes any actions by the Pakistani government to promote greater cooperation, including fostering negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans,” a U.S. embassy spokesperson in Kabul told VOA.

US negotiator

U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has met, and will continue to meet, with all interested parties, including the Taliban, to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the spokesperson added.

Neither Khan nor the U.S. spokesperson have disclosed the possible venue for the upcoming meeting with Taliban officials.

Some Afghan sources say Monday’s meeting will take place in Islamabad, but no official confirmation is available.

USA, afghanistan
U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, talks with local reporters at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 18, 2018. VOA

Khalilzad, who is visiting regional countries to gather support for Afghan peace talks, is to lead the U.S. delegation in talks with insurgent representatives. This will not be the first time Khalilzad has met with the Taliban.

Since taking office in September, the special U.S. envoy has held two publicly known rounds of preliminary discussions with insurgent negotiators in Qatar, where the Taliban runs its so-called political office. The talks have been for the sake of talks, according to insurgent and other sources aware of the meetings.

Trump’s letter to Khan

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month wrote a formal letter to Khan asking for his help to bring the Taliban to the table for negotiations. A day later, Khalilzad visited Islamabad where he met with Khan and his military chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to follow-up on Trump’s request, Pakistani officials say.

Speaking in northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday, Khan said the U.S. has changed its tune by requesting help instead of saying Islamabad is not doing enough, as U.S. officials have previously insisted.

“By the grace of Allah, the dialogue is now happening inshallah [God willing] on the 17th [Khan did not mention the month] and Pakistan has facilitated the talks between America and the Taliban,” Khan said. He did not share further details.

taliban, afghanistan
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, right, head of the Taliban’s political council in Qatar, takes part in the multilateral peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Nov. 9, 2018. VOA

Khan recounted Friday that critics used to mock him as “Taliban Khan” for saying the Afghan war could not be ended without political negotiations but now all key stakeholders are jointly working to pursue a political settlement to end the violence in Afghanistan.

“If peace were achieved, God willing, Peshawar will change and become a hub of commerce and tourism, as things around the 2,500 years old living city are likely to change,” Khan said Friday.

Ambassador Khalilzad is 13 days into an 18-day visit to the region. He has traveled to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belgium and plans to visit the U.A.E. and Qatar.

Withdrawal an issue

Pakistani officials privy to the U.S. interaction with the Taliban have told VOA that until now no progress has been achieved because the insurgents adamantly demand “a date or timeframe” for all foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan before the Taliban decides to participate in an intra-Afghan peace process.

Also Read: What to Make of Taliban’s Continued Rare Silence on Ghani’s Peace Offer? 

U.S. officials have long maintained Taliban leaders are sheltering in Pakistan with covert support from the country’s intelligence agency. Washington has been urging Islamabad to use its influence to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table.

Pakistani officials say their influence over the Taliban has significantly declined over the years because the insurgents have gained control over large areas of Afghanistan and continue to pose serious battlefield challenges for U.S.-backed Afghan security forces. (VOA)