Azra Jafari: Former mayor of Nili in Daikundi province; women's rights advocate in Afghanistan and the US

My name is Azra Jafari. I was the first Afghan woman to serve as mayor in my nation; a position I held for more than five years from September 2008 until December 2013.

People asked if I really wanted the position, and reminded me how difficult and dangerous the job would be for a woman. In the end, they realised how serious and determined I was and selected me for the position.

That a woman could serve successfully in an important executive position in Afghanistan was possible only because of the strong US presence.

Under the Taliban's rule, women were not allowed to attend school or work. We couldn't go to the hospital or travel. We had to wear the burqa.

I know that America's decisions concerning future political and military engagement in Afghanistan will directly impact my life, as well as the lives of millions of other Afghan women.

When the Taliban was overthrown, we had renewed hopes for our country. I married and started a family, studied and became a midwife, assisting in the birth of more than 250 babies.

I became positive and hopeful that my daughter would grow up and attend school in her native country. I also hoped she would grow to be proud of being an Afghan and feel safe in her native nation.

As the US presence has diminished in Afghanistan, the Taliban have risen again, along with the Islamic State. Sadly - frighteningly - after 15 years, the old fears have returned to threaten me and my young daughter, and all women and mothers in my country.

The mothers and children of Afghanistan once again face the terrible nightmare of a lifetime of war and pain.

Will we return to the restrictions and repression placed on society? Will terrorists and extremists once again prevent women from serving in our nation's government and police forces?

The answer, if the Taliban, or ISIL, or some other terrorist group take hold of Afghanistan, is yes.

The consequences of America's future actions will affect the lives of others around the globe, as they did in the 1990s, when the United States and other nations allowed the Taliban to take over my country following our civil war.

America and other international partners have sacrificed much for the people of Afghanistan, who have so far made significant progress in education, health, infrastructure, economics, the promotion of tolerance, and a constitution addressing the rights of all Afghans, especially women.

My country's progress, however, and its very existence, stands severely threatened by forces rushing to fill power vacuums left by our allies.

My message to the new president of the United States is this: Hold our children's hands, and don't allow the horror of Aleppo to repeat itself in Afghanistan.

Don't let the Hazaras of Afghanistan experience the horrors of the Yazidis in Iraq.

Afghanistan strives to stand up, but we cannot stand alone. We need you to stand strong alongside us so that we can further improve our economy, our infrastructure, education, healthcare, and the training of professional police and army to defend us.

All this will, in turn, support the second generation of Afghans who are educated and determined to lead the way in the future.

America, stand with us and Afghanistan will rise as a model of peaceful nationhood.

Painda Mohammad Hikmat: Kabul based journalist and columnist

Dear Mr President,

We all know the United States of America plays a role in the ongoing war and conflict in Afghanistan

We all know the history of the conflict and your "war on terror" in Afghanistan, but do you think interfering in a country that is already underdeveloped for a decade has made any difference? Did you achieve your self-created, one-party mandate? Take a look at the world around you.

Mr President, I am Painda Mohammad Hikmat, an Afghan who has witnessed decades of war and conflict, has been deported from Pakistan and lost friends and relatives.

I am an Afghan journalist who you should be looking at in the eye and giving answers to, because I seek answers for all the loved ones lost and those Afghans who suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Despite all that, I have picked up my pen to write and seek answers from leaders around the world. Should I have chosen a gun, would I have been successful?

So, why did you think you would be successful in your aggression?

Pashtuns have a saying: "You cannot build love by force." And our history has proven that.

Your strategy to handle terrorism and the decisions made - like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - mean that not just Afghan lives, but also American lives, are threatened.

Mr President, when you walk through the halls of the White House, think of us for the better. You've made unexpected moves and surprised us in the most pleasant and unpleasant ways, but if you really claim to love your country and your people, please show us some sympathy.

Bring the Taliban to the negotiating table; make an effort, because this war with the Taliban will otherwise go on forever. You cannot eliminate the roots: The Taliban are Afghans and have been fighting for decades. It's not just the Taliban who don't desire a foreign intervention.

So, why prolong your invasion? Take a step back, now that you've assumed the presidency and end the military deployments to our country.

Yes, we still do need your help, but that help should be tangible: Bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Mr President, the world is not made to bear cruelty. We've seen innocent people die in Kunduz in 2015 when the Taliban took over the city. You must check and balance and watch the war crimes committed. Have you counted the number of Taliban you've killed? Have they backed down?

Funerals, homes and villages are raided by your forces - sometimes with warning, sometimes without.

Our lives matter, too.

Most importantly, speaking for the Guantanamo prisoners - held and tortured without charge by your forces - they hate America.

Their lives are not normal and can never be normal again. Is this not a lot of damage done just for the sake of the "war on terror"?

Mr President, it's better to reassess your activities in Afghanistan.

If America can fight, it can also bring peace. America can play its role better in peace than in war.

When you make future decisions about Afghanistan, be sure to imagine your son or daughter getting killed in front of your eyes. We face this reality on a daily basis.

In this unfortunate phase of life, we just want to be alive.

We want peace: Work on peace and drop the guns.

We want peace.