Asia - Pacific

Extended 'Troika' urge Taliban to shun violence

Representatives of US, China, Russia, Pakistan meet in Doha to discuss Afghan peace process

Aamir Latif   | 01.05.2021
Extended 'Troika' urge Taliban to shun violence

KARACHI, Pakistan

The US, Russia, China, and Pakistan have called on all "parties" involving in the Afghan conflict to reduce the level of violence in the war-raked country, urging the Taliban not to pursue its so-called annual "Spring" offensive in an attempt to fast-track the ongoing peace process.

The fresh call was made through a joint statement on Saturday after the meeting of the extended "Troika” on peaceful settlement in Afghanistan in the Qatari capital Doha.

Officials from the US, Russia, China, and Pakistan met in Doha on Friday, to discuss "ways to support the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations and help the parties reach a negotiated settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire."

They also met with representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The joint statement reiterated 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," it added.

Acknowledging the "sincere demand of the Afghan people for a lasting and just peace and an end to the war", it reiterated 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 the war-torn country.

Taking note of the proposed pullout of the US and NATO troops starting from May 1, and to be concluded by Sept. 11, 2021, the participants said they expect the Taliban to "fulfill 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 further said.

Call for inclusive political settlement

Condemning in the "strongest terms" any attacks deliberately targeting civilians in Afghanistan, it called on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to the protection of civilians.

"We reiterate that diplomatic personnel and property shall be inviolable, and the perpetrators of any attack or threat on foreign diplomatic personnel and properties in Kabul will be held accountable," it went on to say.

It urged the Afghan government and the High Council for National Reconciliation – Afghanistan's top peace negotiating body – to "engage openly with their Taliban counterparts regarding a negotiated settlement. We do not support the establishment in Afghanistan of any government imposed by force."

The extended "Troika" also supported a review of the status of designations of Taliban individuals and entities on the UN 1988 sanctions, as stated in the UN Security Council resolutions, 2513 (2020).

The meeting noted the preparations by Turkey to host a conference of senior leaders of the Afghan government and the Taliban in Istanbul after the holy month of Ramadan in order to accelerate the intra-Afghan negotiations.

"We call upon the negotiating parties to make progress toward an inclusive political settlement and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire," the statement maintained.

It called on all Afghans, including the Afghan government and the Taliban, to "ensure that terrorist groups and individuals do not use the 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," it concluded.

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