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Escalation of violence stymies peace process, Khalilzad

AT News

KABUL: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad said that attacks have been on the rise in recent weeks in Afghanistan that  threatening the peace process and alarming the Afghan people and their regional and international supporters.

In series of tweets, Khalilzad said, “Following several meetings General Miller and I had with the Taliban, we agreed to re-set actions by strictly adhering to implementation of all elements of the U.S.-Taliban Agreement and all commitments made.”

This means reduced numbers of operations he said, adding “at present too many Afghans are dying. With the re-set, we expect that number to drop significantly.”

“We will do our part and will monitor implementation actively. All parties must deliver on their responsibilities. We thank our international partners for their assistance and support,” he added.

Meanwhile, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg met with US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Brussels and the two sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

“The Doha talks offer the best chance for peace, but Taliban must keep their promises and reduce the unacceptable level of violence. NATO remains committed to Afghanistan’s security,” Stoltenberg tweeted.

This is as UNAMA in a statement said that the violence “unleashed in Helmand this week has forced thousands of Afghanistan civilians to leave their homes and initial reports suggest civilians have been killed and injured, including women and children.”

Moreover, the US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson in a tweet said “I stand behind UNAMA’s call to protect civilians in Helmand, who should have safe passage to leave dangerous areas. It is indefensible that the Taliban continues to put civilians at risk through needless violence. Afghanistan needs peace now.”

Furthermore, the UK embassy in Kabul condemned the Taliban offensive in Helmand where “alarming numbers of civilians” have been “displaced, injured or killed” and says the attacks “undermine the crucial peace talks” and all sides “must urgently reduce the violence and work towards a ceasefire.”

“We continue to support the ANDSF and the brave efforts made to create lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the UK Embassy said in a statement.

Taliban fighters carried large-scale attacks on Lashkargah six days ago. Ongoing fighting has forced thousands of people to flee and take refugee to the surrounding provinces. Acting Defense Minister, Gen Assadullah Khalid visited Helmand province and said security situation will return to normal soon. ‘Taliban had planned to capture Lashkargah city; by Allah’s grace, ANDSF and people repelled the attack. ANDSF will clear areas at the outskirts of Lashkargah from Taliban soon,’ he added.

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