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Saikal insists Afghans ‘won’t tolerate’ misuse of peace process

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Afghanistan envoy to the United Nations has warnedall parties to the conflict in his country that the Afghans, who paid a heavyprice in the past 40 years, would not tolerate any ‘misuse’ of the peaceprocess.

Addressing a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York on the situation in Afghanistan, Kabul’s permanent representative to the world’s body, Mahmoud Saikal said genuine and tangible regional support for peace was of crucial importance.

He recalled last Saturdays’ foreign ministers meeting in Kabul between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China and said discussions centered on tangible measures to build trust.

He said Pakistan was again requested to do what was necessary to facilitate direct talks and it was asserted that mutual trust and confidence was only possible when a reduction was seen in violence,

 “We hope to see visible progress in the coming weeks and months, based on new commitments made, as well as the expectations of our people and the international community,”.

Security situation and elections

Saikal told the UNSC meeting that Afghan national security forces, at great sacrifice, kept terrorist elements at bay throughout Afghanistan.

He said the Taliban and affiliate groups failed to register real gains anywhere in the country and attacks to capture territory, including provincial capitals, were foiled.

“Consequently, these groups, including foreign terrorist fighters resorted to new levels of brutality, with increased cowardly terrorist attacks on population centers, leading to a dramatic increase in civilian casualties.”

 He said in the face of these atrocities, the Afghans stood defiant in pursuit of peace and democracy and more than four million people, over 45 percent of registered voters cast their vote despite all threats and attacks.

“Every candidate and every voter was a target of the Taliban. As we await the final results of parliamentary elections, our next focus is to address the shortcomings to ensure successful presidential elections currently scheduled for April next year.”

Consensus on peace

The ambassador said they had fostered an unprecedented level of consensus on the imperative of peace —  nationally, regionally and internationally.

“Internally, an extensive consultative process, culminated in the creation of a negotiating team and an Advisory Board that will provide strategic input on various aspects and stages of the peace talks, once it begins.”

Saikal said Kabul welcomed all forms of support for peace and underlined all such initiatives should be under the purview of Afghanistan’s leadership of the process.

“Let me reaffirm to the Council, we seek a peace that is durable, with increased political, social and economic opportunities for our people. A peace that protects human rights, especially women’s rights and consolidates the gains of the past 17 years.”

Drought

Afghanistan’s worst drought this century affected people and led to food insecurity, internal displacement and other drastic humanitarian implications, the UNSC was told.

“We appeal to the international community to help provide the support needed in order to alleviate this alarming situation, including through contributions to the Emergency Appeal launched by the UN.  Amidst the challenges facing Afghanistan, adequately addressing the humanitarian crisis should not be overlooked,” Saikal said.

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