Special envoys and special representatives of the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, NATO, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States in a statement emphasized the need for continued international support to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and said it will be necessary to ensure Afghanistan can defend itself against internal and external threats.
The envoys acknowledged the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for an end to the war and a fair and lasting peace and confirmed that such a peace can only be achieved through an inclusive, negotiated political settlement among Afghans, according to the statement that was published by Germany’s Foreign Office on Friday.
They 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 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.
They underlined their support for the continuation of discussions between the parties’ negotiating teams in Doha and urged the immediate resumption, without pre-conditions, of substantive negotiations on the future of Afghanistan with the aim to develop and negotiate realistic compromise positions on power-sharing that can lead to an inclusive and legitimate government and a just and durable settlement.
The envoys welcomed an expanded role for the United Nations in contributing to the Afghanistan peace and reconciliation process, including by leveraging its considerable experience and expertise in supporting other peace processes.
They strongly condemned the continued violence in Afghanistan for which the Taliban are largely responsible and demanded all 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 participants 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 envoys, in particular, demanded 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.
The envoys said that the process of the troop withdrawal must not serve as an excuse for the Taliban to suspend the peace process and that good-faith political negotiations must proceed in earnest.
They also agreed that substantial international development assistance will be needed for Afghanistan’s stability during peace negotiations and reaffirmed their commitment to mobilize international support for reconstruction following a peace agreement, based on the conditions as laid out in the outcome documents of the 2020 Geneva Conference, including the preservation and respect for the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities.
They reaffirmed that any peace agreement must protect the rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and minorities, and must respond to the strong desire of Afghans to sustain and build on the economic, social, political and development gains achieved since 2001, including greater adherence to the rule of law, respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations, and improvements in inclusive and accountable governance.
The special representatives underscored that the Taliban and the Government of the Islamic Republic must fulfill their counterterrorism commitments including to prevent al-Qaida, Daesh or other terrorist groups and individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten or violate the security of any other country; not to host members of these groups; and to prevent them from recruiting, training or fundraising.
They reaffirmed that current and future support to any Afghan government relies on the adherence to the principles set out in the Afghanistan Partnership Framework and progress towards the outcomes in the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework II as decided upon at the November 2020 Geneva donor’s conference.
The participants called upon the Government of the Islamic Republic to effectively fight corruption and promote good governance, and implement anti-corruption legislation.
They urged the Taliban to facilitate access for delivery of humanitarian aid, without preconditions and in accordance with international humanitarian law, to the parts of the country under their effective control.
The envoys encouraged all concerned countries, in particular Afghanistan’s neighbors and countries of the region, to continue to support the Afghan people and constructively contribute to a lasting peace settlement and sustainable economic development in the interest of all.