KABUL: The NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Stefano Pontecorvo has urged the Taliban to act seriously on the peace process for a political settlement and to an end to the Afghan conflict.
In a virtual meeting with Abdul Salam Rahimy, Pontecorvo talked on the range of issues related to the Afghan peace process, including the preparations for the intra-Afghan negotiations. “I welcome the government’s commitment to peace. Now the Taliban have to show they’re serious about peace too, cease violence and focus on the political settlement of the conflict,” he said.
The plea in violence reduction came when more Afghan soldiers were killed and injured in the past week than during any other week in the past two decades of the conflict.
The National Security Council said that past week was the deadliest in the 19 years of war, with 291 members of Afghanistan’s armed forces killed in Taliban attacks in 32 provinces—an uptick in military deaths amid strenuous efforts for peace talks.
422 attacks were carried out by the Taliban in the last week, in which 841 soldiers were martyred and wounded, said an NSC statement.
In his recent discussion with National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Mohib, Mr. Pontecorvo assured NATO’s commitment to supporting the Afghan peace process while monitoring the situation on the ground. “The Taliban must live up to their commitments, reduce violence now and move to intra-Afghan negotiations in good faith,” he said.
In his interview with a local tv channel, Mr. Pontecorvo said that the level of violence is utterly against the atmosphere that must be created for trust-building between the parties.