“The common message to the Taliban is clear: Come to the table and negotiate directly with the Afghan government,” the top UN diplomat in Afghanistan said on Wednesday.
Addressing a Security Council session, UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan head Tadamichi Yamamoto urged nations with influence over the Taliban to intensify their efforts towards this goal.
Ultimately, however, he acknowledged that there was no substitute for the Afghan people taking ownership and advancing their inclusive dialogue on a peace process.
Germany and Qatar were working to organise an intra-Afghan dialogue, he said, adding direct talks between the US and Taliban continued with broad international support.
“Afghanistan and some of its international partners, in particular Germany and Qatar, are preparing for an intra-Afghan dialogue,” he was quoted as saying in a statement from UNAMA.
“Afghan citizens have displayed an enduring commitment to choosing their political leaders through elections in the face of threats and adverse security conditions,” Yamamoto said.
On the presidential election issue, he noted progress in finalising an operational plan and budget and launch of voter registration, he said significant operational and technical challenges needed to be overcome for a credible vote.
“After last year’s highly controversial parliamentary elections and subsequent dismissals of all electoral commissioners, the most daunting task…is regaining public confidence”, he remarked.
“The IEC needs to demonstrate that it can address the problems which marred the parliamentary elections and integrate the lessons learned into preparations for the upcoming vote,”, including by training electoral staff, more robust outreach and the timely rollout of electoral technology.