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US calls on Taliban to join peace process

AT-KABUL: The US secretary of state John Kerry addressed delegates attending the Brussels summit on Afghanistan on Wednesday, calling on the Taliban insurgents to join the peace process as the head of another opposition armed group Gulbuddin Hekmatyar recently did.

“Taliban could not win on the battlefield, there is a path forward toward an honorable end to the conflict that the Taliban have waged­-it is a conflict that cannot and would not be won on the battlefield,” Kerry said.

Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan, a military insurgent group waging a long battle against the Afghan security forces and the international coalition, recently signed a peace deal with the Kabul administration.

“A political settlement negotiated with the Afghan government is the only way to end the fighting, ensure lasting stability, and achieve a full drawdown ultimately of international forces, which is their goal,” Kerry said.

“Their goal of ridding Afghanistan of external forces would not occur by the continued insurgency, it would come through peace.”

“In return for keeping these commitments, Hekmatyar’s group will be able to emerge from the shadows to rejoin Afghan society,” the US secretary of state added.

“The Taliban and their allies cannot wait us out … We would not abandon our Afghan friends.”

In the meantime, Kerry called for Russia, China, Pakistan, India and Iran to help Afghanistan overcome its problems, including the Taliban insurgency.

“I urge Russia, China, Pakistan, India and Iran to think about the special role that they could play in this region in order to help make a major difference not only in the long-term economy and future and social structure of Afghanistan, but in reaching peach with the Taliban,” Kerry said.

Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, with government forces fighting the continuing Taliban insurgency, while the Daesh terror group, has also expanded activities in the country.

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