By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Representatives of the extended “Troika,” comprising the United States, Russia, China, and Pakistan, met in Doha on Friday to discuss ways to support intra-Afghan negotiations and help the parties reach a negotiated settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. The extended “Troika” met with representatives of the Islamic Republic negotiating team and the Taliban, as well as Qatar, who graciously hosted the participants, according to a statement by the US Department of State. The statement says that the extended “troika” members “support a review of the status of designations of Taliban individuals and entities on the UN 1988 sanctions, as stated in the UNSC resolution 2513 (2020).” Practical measures to reduce violence and sustained efforts to advance intra-Afghan negotiations by the Taliban will positively affect this review process, the statement added. “We acknowledge the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for a lasting and just peace and an end to the war,” the statement said. “We reiterate that there is no military solution in Afghanistan and a negotiated political settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process is the only way forward for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.” The statement said that the extended troika members take note of the April 14 announcement by the United States and NATO that US/NATO forces will begin a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 that concludes by September 11, 2021. “We reiterate that the withdrawal of foreign troops should ensure a steady transition of the situation in Afghanistan. We stress that, during the withdrawal period, the peace process should not be disrupted, no fights or turbulence shall occur in Afghanistan, and the safety of international troops should be ensured,” the statement said. The statement said that “we expect the Taliban to fulfill its counterterrorism commitments, including preventing terrorist groups and individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country; not hosting these groups and preventing them from recruiting, training, and fundraising.” “We expect the Afghan government to continue counterterrorism cooperation with the international community,” the statement said. The participants reiterated their call on all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to reduce the level of violence in the country and on the Taliban not to pursue a Spring offensive. “We condemn in the strongest terms any attacks deliberately targeting civilians in Afghanistan and call on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to protection of civilians,” the statement said. The statement calls on all Afghans including the Government of the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to ensure that terrorist groups and individuals do not use Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country. “We reaffirm that any peace agreement must include protections for the rights of all Afghans, including women, men, children, victims of war, and minorities, and should respond to the strong desire of all Afghans for economic, social and political development including the rule of law,” the statement concluded.