By: Lailuma Noori
The Counselor of the US Department of State Derek H. Chollet has said that Washington expects to see faster progress on a political settlement and expects both Afghanistan government and the Taliban group to be prepared to engage seriously.
On behalf of the US Secretary of State, the Counselor of the US Department of State said their goals were clear as they have continued to call on all parties to reduce the level of violence in the country and on the Taliban not to pursue a spring offensive to avoid further casualties and to create conditions conducive to reaching a negotiated political settlement.
The Counselor of the US Department of State by pointing to the opportunity made for the future of Afghanistan stressed all partners and neighbors of Afghanistan were playing in support of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
“We are at a pivotal moment in the future of Afghanistan and the region. We have before us the greatest opportunity for peace in 40 years of conflict. All of Afghanistan’s friends and neighbors have a role to play in supporting a peace that is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” Derek stressed.
Condemning the increasing targeted killings in Afghanistan, Derek says they condemn the targeted attacks on women leaders, journalists, civil society members, religious figures, and government and security officials in the strongest possible terms, calling for accountability for these attacks, as well as an immediate reduction in violence.
“We recognize the Afghan people have made clear their intent to safeguard the social gains of the last two decades, including the rights and protections for women and minorities. Donors, including the United States, view these gains as essential for continued development assistance,” Derek added.
According to the Counselor of the US Department of State, US is cooperating closely with its international and regional real partners to help Afghanistan reach lasting peace and stability. He said the US was looking forward to the United Nations playing a positive and constructive role in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process going forward.
This year’s Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Ministerial Conference comes at a critical moment in the Afghanistan peace process. It demonstrates the strong regional consensus for peace and development and an Afghanistan that contributes to those goals. It is expected that by handing Afghanistan peace talks over the United Nations and changing location of the talks from Qatar to another country will both help create consensus in international and regional level towards Afghan peace process and provide opportunity to all parties to the peace and war of Afghanistan play role in the process. Currently, efforts are underway for further peace discussions on a political roadmap in Turkey’s Istanbul. It is said that the discussions will be critically important. All have welcomed Turkey’s offer to facilitate further discussions to help all parties to the conflict reach a political settlement for Afghanistan future.