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NATO reiterates support of Afghan peace, calls on Taliban to abandon violence

AT-KABUL: Foreign Ministers of the countries contributing at the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan reaffirmed their countries’ “steadfast commitment” to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The diplomats who gathered in Brussels on Wednesday, called on Taliban to say ‘YES’ to Afghan government’s peace offer and join the peace negotiations. “We remind the Taliban that they will never achieve their ambitions through fighting and emphasize that there is no military solution to the conflict. The Taliban must join their fellow Afghans, including the Government of Afghanistan, at the negotiating table, and play a meaningful role in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led political process that result in a mutual understanding about the future of their country,” the NATO member foreign ministers said in a statement.

The statement praised the October legislative election as a crucial phase of building democracy and a sign of Afghans’ support for democratic process. “Voters, one third of them female, defied threats of violence and went to polling stations to shape the future of their country. This is an encouraging sign of their determinations and ownership.”

The statement asked for organizational changes ahead of the next year’s presidential election to prevent “significant shortcomings” seen during the parliamentary voting.

The statement pointed to peace process as a basic need of Afghans, saying that the Eid-ul-Fetr ceasefire suggested by the government with Taliban’s positive answer, showed the world that Afghans want peace, and that violence could be stopped. It welcomed the government’s offer of unconditional peace talks with the Taliban, “fully” supporting its aim to end conflict by reaching an inclusive peace agreement based on national consensus.

The NATO foreign ministers warned the Taliban that they never achieve their ambitions through fighting, demanding the militants to join their “fellow Afghans” at the negotiating table and play a meaningful role in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led political process.

They expressed support of an inclusive, negotiated and durable political settlement led by Afghans to end violence and ensure Afghanistan was never again used as a platform for terrorist attacks against other countries.

The statement recognized US recent efforts for Afghan peace, calling on Afghanistan’s neighboring countries to “deny any form of support for the insurgency”.

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