KABUL: The NATO Civilian Representative to Afghanistan said that intensive violence by the Taliban was the biggest challenge for peace in Afghanistan.
In an exclusive interview with Salam Watandar radio, Stefano Pontecorvo said that the Taliban have expressed committeemen for peace but continuation of their violence and the killing of military and civilian personnel have potentially undermined the peace process.
He called on the Taliban to cut their ties with the al-Qaeda terrorist network – one of the main supporters of the Taliban regime back in the 1990s.
Pontecorvo said that NATO didn’t want to remain in Afghanistan forever but the alliance would leave Afghanistan after completion of the mission, which is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming into a safe haven for the terrorists.
The NATO pullout depended on the country’s situations, he added. “I call on both sides to overcome the challenges against the prisoner swap and show flexibility in regards.” These confrontation must be ended in a bid to start the next level which is intra-Afghan talks
He had expressed concerns on the Taliban’s links with Daesh and al-Qaeda, saying that due to NATO’s existence in Afghanistan, the country has been prevented from becoming a safe haven for the terrorists.
Pontecorvo said that cutting ties between the Taliban and al-Qaeda was the main part of the US-Taliban peace deal signed on February 29th in Doha and that the Taliban should remain committed to it.