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NATO Reiterates Call on Taliban to Engage in Afghan-owned Peace Process

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(Last Updated On: July 12, 2018)

NATO leaders in a joint statement on Thursday reiterated their call to the Taliban to engage in the Afghan-led and owned peace process as the only “pathway”  to a sustainable resolution of the conflict.

The statement which focused on eight key points, described NATO leaders’ support and commitment to Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability, following the end of two-day summit in Brussels.

The NATO leaders in the statement said that the Afghan people demand peace and they are encouraged by the momentum building in that direction. “We remain united in our commitment to help Afghanistan attain it.”

“We pay tribute to the sacrifice and resilience of the Afghan people who have wanted peace for many years, and to the men and women serving in the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and in the Resolute Support Mission.

 “We honour all those who have lost their lives or have been wounded in support of a better future for Afghanistan that is free from terrorism.”

NATO leaders in the statement said that their shared aim remains a stable and secure Afghanistan that will never again serve as a safe haven for terrorists who threaten our shared security.

Effective, professional, and self-sustaining Afghan forces will be better able to provide security for the country, create the conditions for a negotiated resolution of the conflict through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, and demonstrate to the Taliban that it cannot prevail through force.

“We welcome the progress the Afghan security institutions are making as a result of Resolute Support’s capacity-building efforts, and the Afghan-led institutional reforms which are resulting in strengthened professionalism and increased effectiveness on the battlefield. We reiterate our support for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces Roadmap.”

According to the statement, a  political solution to the conflict with the Taliban, based on national consensus, will be essential in order to achieve sustainable stability and security.

The statement said that NATO allies and operational partners welcome the Afghan government’s unprecedented offer of unconditional peace talks to the Taliban.

 “We fully support the Afghan government’s aim of reaching an inclusive peace agreement with the Taliban, and note with particular appreciation the outcomes of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation conference in Afghanistan on 28 February, and the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan held on 26-27 March.”

The NATO leaders also commend the Afghan government’s commitment to demonstrate the benefits of peace, and its determination to advance the peace process and reduce violence through its announcement of a unilateral cease-fire in June. “We note that the Taliban participated in the Eid al-Fitr cease-fire.”  

Their leadership’s rejection of the extension proposed by the Afghan government will only result in harm to innocent Afghan citizens, the statement said.  

“We reiterate our call to the Taliban to engage credibly in the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and stress that this is the only pathway to a sustainable resolution of the conflict.”

The statement, meanwhile said that NATO allies and operational partners will respect and support a negotiated and durable political settlement led by Afghans which ends violence, cuts ties to terrorism and protects the human rights of all Afghan citizens, notably those of women and children.

“We also support the Afghan government’s intention to address all contested issues between the parties, including those relating to the future military role of the international community in Afghanistan.”

The statement also noted that the upcoming Geneva ministerial conference on Afghanistan in Nov. 2018 will be an important opportunity to review the progress achieved, particularly the Afghan government’s commitment to accountability and reforms, and to underscore the International Community’s continued commitment to development assistance.

 “A stable Afghanistan is in our interest and that of the entire region. Regional actors have a significant role to play in achieving peace and stabilisation in Afghanistan by fully supporting a negotiated political solution, by not lending any form of support to the insurgency, by improving conditions for Afghan economic development, and by working with the Afghanistan.

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Allies have the capabilities to strike from afar against terrorist threats: NATO

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(Last Updated On: October 21, 2021)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday allies will discuss Afghanistan during Friday’s defence ministers meeting, which will be “the first opportunity for the ministers to engage in the lessons learnt process” launched by the organization.

NATO defense ministers are meeting Thursday and Friday in Brussels to chart the course for the alliance as it modernizes and adapts to a world dominated by strategic competition.

However, the discussions will also include Afghanistan, Stoltenberg said during a press conference Thursday. According to him “we are in the midst of the lessons learned process, I think it’s a bit early to draw final conclusions.”

He said the decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan had been “a very difficult dilemma” but after extensive rounds of consultations among all allies, “we agreed together to end our military presence in Afghanistan”.

Stoltenberg said the lesson learned process has to focus on both what did not work, but also what worked, and he said “we should recognize that we actually made significant achievements”.

“Our mission was not in vain. We prevented Afghanistan from being a safe haven for international terrorists, and prevented any attack against any NATO ally over 20 years.

“Now we will stay vigilant and preserve those gains. Not least by holding, using the leverage we have on the new Taliban (Islamic Emirate) regime to make sure that they live up to their commitments on terrorism, on human rights, and safe passage.”

“The international community has economic and diplomatic leverage over the Taliban (Islamic Emirate),” he said.

“Looking ahead, we must continue to stand together in the fight against international terrorism,” he said. “And in the margins of this ministerial, we will hold a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh [or the Islamic State group],” he said.

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IEA calls on US to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets

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(Last Updated On: October 21, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leaders called on the US to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets during a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday night saying that the money is for the Afghan people.

“All countries, with almost one voice, called on the US to end its financial prohibitions on Afghanistan and to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets because this money is for the Afghan people and they were receiving their salaries from it, and therefore the US has no right to freeze these funds,” acting IEA Minister of Information and Culture, Khairullah Khairkhwa, said.

Pakistan, China, Iran, India and former Soviet Central Asian states joined IEA officials at the Moscow meeting. The United States stayed away, citing technical reasons.

Acting Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi meanwhile said at the meeting that the IEA would create conditions for women to work within the framework of Sharia law.

He also emphasized that the IEA does not represent a threat to any other country.

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UN sets up trust fund for ‘people’s economy’ in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 21, 2021)

The United Nations said on Thursday it had set up a special trust fund to provide urgently-needed cash directly to Afghans through a system that would tap into donor funds frozen since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover in August.

Achim Steiner, the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) administrator, said that Germany, a first contributor, had pledged 50 million euros ($58 million) to the fund, and that it was in touch with other donors.

“Discussions over the last few weeks have focused on how we do find a way to be able to mobilise these resources in view of the economic implosion that is now unfolding and the international community’s repeated commitment not to abandon the people of Afghanistan,” he told a news briefing.

This comes after US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on Tuesday he sees no situation where the IEA would be allowed access to Afghan central bank reserves, which are largely held in the United States.

The IEA has called for the United States to lift a block on more than $9 billion of Afghan central bank reserves held outside the country as the government struggles to contain a deepening economic crisis.

“We believe that it’s essential that we maintain our sanctions against the Taliban (IEA) but at the same time find ways for legitimate humanitarian assistance to get to the Afghan people. That’s exactly what we’re doing,” Adeyemo told the Senate Banking Committee.

Washington and other Western countries are grappling with difficult choices as a severe humanitarian crisis looms large in Afghanistan. They have been trying to work out how to engage with the IEA without granting them legitimacy, while ensuring humanitarian aid flows into the country.

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