By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The Special Envoys of the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, NATO, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States on the Afghan Peace Process in a joint statement on Friday “strongly” condemned the continued violence in Afghanistan.
The statement, which was issued following a virtual meeting of the international community envoys and the Taliban delegation, said that the Taliban are largely responsible for the continued violence, urging all warring parties to take immediate and necessary steps to reduce violence and in particular, “to avoid civilian casualties in order to create an environment conducive to reaching a political settlement.”
The envoys called on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to the protection of civilians and urged all sides to immediately agree on steps that enable the successful implementation of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
The envoy emphasized that durable peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an inclusive, negotiated political settlement among Afghans.
The envoys affirmed their commitment to UNSC resolution 2513 (2020) and emphasized that they oppose the establishment in Afghanistan of any government by force which would constitute a threat to regional stability, the statement read.
The envoys highlighted “the need to accelerate the pace of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace negotiations and committed to work with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Taliban, and other Afghan political and civil society leaders to reach a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement and political compromise that ends the war for the benefit of all Afghans and that contributes to regional stability and global security.”
This comes as the Taliban have intensified attacks across the country since the foreign troops’ officially begin to withdraw from Afghanistan on May 1.
The international community also called upon the Taliban “to stop their undeclared spring offensive, to refrain from attacks against civilians, and to stop immediately all attacks in the vicinity of hospitals, schools, universities, mosques and other civilian areas.”
The envoy also called for an immediate end to the campaign of targeted assassinations against civil society leaders, the clergy, journalists and other media workers, human rights defenders, healthcare personnel, judicial employees, and other civilians.
Meanwhile, the Taliban in a series of tweets that a powerful Islamic government is a need in Afghanistan that could maintain “women’s rights and freedom of speech.”