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FM Atmar says region now understands ‘the urgent need for peace’

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar said he believes countries in the region have come to agree that peace in Afghanistan is in their best interests as the emergence of any new transnational terrorist networks will pose a serious threat to neighboring nations.

In an interview with TRT this weekend, Atmar said “understanding has been achieved” in the region but that more needs to be done to “translate that understanding and consensus into concrete action”.

FM Atmar also said that Afghanistan welcomes Turkey’s offer to run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once US and NATO troops have withdrawn.

“We believe that this will be essential for continuation of Turkish and NATO as well as the international community’s support to Afghanistan. This is going to be important for the diplomatic community in Kabul and it’s also important for international assistance to Afghanistan,” he said.

He also said that he believes the new system will see Turkey as the lead nation in protecting the airport and might be supported by other NATO allies including Hungary.

He said Pakistan plays an “exceedingly important” role in the Afghan peace process and that Turkey in turn is trying to get Islamabad’s support to bring an end to the conflict.

In the face of rising violence, Atmar stated that “no nation can cope with this level of devastating violence that has been imposed on us”.

He said it was important for international and particularly regional partners to understand that the “Afghan people are actually fighting on behalf of the region and the international community to secure us against international terrorism”.

“It’s important that the region redoubles its efforts on one hand for peacemaking with the Taliban, on the other for counterterrorism against foreign and international terrorist groups.”

Atmar however said that the Taliban was not negotiating in good faith adding that they “are not even true to their own understanding of the Islamic principles and teachings”.

He said all along the Taliban has claimed to be fighting against the presence of international troops but now that the foreign forces are withdrawing the group is “fighting their fellow Afghans, fellow Muslims”.

He questioned how they justify this.

“The Taliban must explain to themselves, to Afghans and the whole Muslim world as to why they continue to fight and kill Muslims in their own country,” he said adding the Taliban also needs to “be faithful to their commitment under the Doha peace agreement (with the US) in which they committed themselves that they would cease violence and reach a political settlement with the people of Afghanistan once the international troops begin to leave Afghanistan”.

Atmar went on to say that the question now is Afghanistan, “the region and the international communities whether we can work together to compel the Taliban to negotiate and reach an agreement and respect that agreement”.

 

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