By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Addressing the 26th ministerial meeting of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, acting minister of foreign affairs Idrees Zaman called for a political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, saying the government has prepared a seven-step peace plan.
“This year marks the 16th anniversary of our partnership with the OSCE. We have benefited immensely from the knowledge and expertise of OSCE in different fields,” he added.
The Afghan security forces had wiped out Daesh — Islamic State (IS) — rebels from eastern Afghanistan, where a thousand fighters of the group had surrendered along with their families, Minister Zaman said.
“Taliban continue to be the primary partner of all foreign terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan. There are still strong links and cooperation between Taliban and Al-Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as well as nearly 20 others regionally and globally focused groups.”
Taliban and other associated terrorist groups maintained the ability to generate revenue through narcotics trade, illicit mineral extraction, taxation, extortion and donations from abroad, he added.
The Afghan government remained engaged in implementing its national strategy to address the lingering problem of narcotics, in all its aspects, the minister continued.
Since the withdrawal of the bulk of foreign troops in 2014, he said, Afghan forces had been bearing the brunt of fighting the insurgency and terrorism in the country.
“We are of the view that the war in Afghanistan should end through a political settlement,” Zaman remarked.
He explained: “I am pleased to announce that the Afghan government has prepared a seven-step peace plan. We have clearly said regional and international support is vital for the success of the Afghan-led peace process.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express a word of thanks to all partners, inside and outside our region, who are supporting our peace efforts.”
The Afghan-led initiatives such as the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process and RECCA had tremendously contributed to greater economic cooperation, mutual trust, increased regional connectivity and shared prosperity.
“We look forward to the next Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process ministerial meeting which is going to be held next week in Istanbul,” the minister said.
Afghanistan remained committed to developing and strengthening long-term cooperation with the OSCE, he said.
Afghanistan-related projects had benefitted immensely from the OSCE field presence in Central Asia, he acknowledged.