KABUL has reiterated strong support for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process aimed at finding a political resolution that ends decades of conflict.
A negotiated solution was the only way to deliver sustainable peace to the Afghan people and to ensure Afghanistan’s long-term stability, the North Atlantic Council said.
“NATO and its partners are committed to contributing to an environment conducive to this outcome. We call on all sides to rapidly resolve the remaining issues still precluding the start of inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations,” the council said in a statement.
The statement added the current level of violence — driven especially by Taliban attacks against Afghan security forces, remained unacceptably high, causing instability and undermining confidence in the peace process.
During the 2018 and 2020 Eid al-Fitr ceasefires, it recalled, all sides demonstrated the political will and capacity to stop the fighting.
“Given the impact of COVID-19, we echo the call of the United Nations for the Taliban to agree to a humanitarian ceasefire that applies to all sides. Both sides must also urgently resolve issues related to prisoner releases”.
The military presence of the alliance and its partners in the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan is conditions-based, according to the council.
“We will continue to consult and, if conditions allow, adjust our military presence to support the peace process, initiated by the US-Taliban agreement and the US-Afghanistan Joint Declaration.
“We urge the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to fulfill their commitments, including entering into intra-Afghan negotiations and ensuring terrorists never again find safe haven on Afghan soil.”
Recent attacks targeting civilians, including women workers throughout Afghanistan underscored the urgency of meeting the commitments, it continued.
NATO reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to Afghanistan, the Afghan people, and the Afghan security forces through the Resolute Support Mission.
“We expect intra-Afghan negotiations to lead to an enduring and comprehensive peace agreement that puts an end to violence, safeguards the human rights of all Afghans, the rule of law, and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.”