With no advances in intra-Afghan talks, missions of US, Japan, Germany, others call for ‘urgent end’ to Taliban offensives.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – With rejuvenated intra-Afghan talks failing to deliver a breakthrough, leading foreign diplomatic missions in Kabul called Monday for an ‘urgent end’ to the Taliban’s offensives in Afghanistan.
In a joint statement, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the EU Delegation, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, the Office of the NATO Senior Civilian Representative, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US made the call while noting that the insurgents’ attacks are thwarting prospects for a political solution.
“The Taliban’s offensive is in direct contradiction to their claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict and to the Doha peace process,” said the joint statement.
The diplomatic missions, which have remained supportive of the Afghan government since the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001, also expressed concerns over reports of the insurgents repressing the human rights of women and girls and plans to shut media organizations in districts they have overrun since May, when President Joe Biden announced his exit strategy for US troops.
“We join the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in calling on the Taliban and all the parties to immediately end the violence, agree to a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire and engage fully in peace negotiations to end the suffering of the Afghan people and to pave the way for an inclusive political settlement that benefits all Afghans and ensures that Afghanistan does not again serve as a safe haven for terrorists,” said the statement.
The diplomatic missions also condemned the ongoing targeted killings in the war-ravaged country, the destruction of vital infrastructure, and threats to the gains of the past two decades.
The latest round of intra-Afghan negotiations failed to deliver a breakthrough, with the Afghan government and the Taliban on Sunday vowing via a joint statement to continue and expedite high-level peace talks in Doha, Qatar.
The joint statement, issued after two days of talks, said the two sides also vowed to safeguard civilian lives, infrastructure and services in the country.
Both sides “realize the need of an agreement that can address the interests and demands of all women and men of Afghanistan in light of Islamic principles…[and] are determined to stay engaged in negotiations at a high level to reach such an agreement and for reaching this aim continue such meetings,” said the statement.
Minutes after the statement, Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naeem categorically rejected any agreement on a cease-fire or release of prisoners.
Sources in the Afghan government’s peace delegation told Anadolu Agency that the Taliban had floated the idea of an extended cease-fire, provided up to 7,000 more of their captives are freed by the Afghan government. They also want their leaders to be removed from the UN sanctions list, the sources said.
The Afghan government, on the other hand, has been hesitant to accept this idea as a way out after seeing many of the 5,000 Taliban who have already been freed return to the battlefield.