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Afghanistan must seize opportunity for peace: NATO

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KABUL: Hinting to the unprecedented opportunity for peace, NATO has called on Afghan leaders to resolve difference, form inclusive government and on Taliban to bring down unacceptable levels of violence, enter negotiations without delay.  

The prospect of the start of negotiations to reach a comprehensive peace agreement in Afghanistan represents an historic opportunity to end the decades long conflict. All sides should act to urgently fulfil the commitments they have made to lower violence and work toward peace, said North Atlantic Council statement on Afghanistan.

“We call urgently upon Afghanistan’s political leaders and their supporters to come together to resolve their differences and form an inclusive government. Afghanistan’s political actors must seize this opportunity for peace,” it added.

The current level of violence caused by the Taliban is not acceptable. We call urgently on the Taliban to reduce violence and create the conditions conducive to commence negotiations. NATO further calls on the Taliban to fulfil its commitments to ensure that terrorists never again find safe haven on Afghan soil.

“We welcome the establishment of an inclusive negotiating team to represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We call on the Taliban to enter negotiations with this team without further delay, which is considered a key element of the U.S.-Taliban agreement. We expect these negotiations to lead to an enduring and comprehensive peace agreement that puts an end to violence, safeguards the human rights of all Afghans, including women and children, upholds the rule of law, and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists,” according to the statement.

NATO encourages both sides to demonstrate good will by accelerating the release of prisoners, as a confidence building measure and to embrace the international community’s call for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire. The continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency of such measures. We call on the Taliban to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the Afghan people.

NATO reaffirms its longstanding commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan security forces, with whom NATO and its partners have fought shoulder-to-shoulder in pursuit of security and stability. Now is the time to act in support of sustainable peace. 

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