In a statement released by NATO on the peace process in Afghanistan it reaffirms its commitment to the country, condemming the current level of violence and urging all sides ‘it is time for all parties to seize this moment for peace’.
Since taking over from the UN Security Council led International Security Assistance Force in 2014 the NATO’s Operation Resolute Support has seen numbers of troops reduced from 140,000 in 2014 to around 16,000 in 2018.
The statement comes as the Coronavirus passed over 13 million cases worldwide while Afghanistan has 34,000 cases but its neighboring countries Pakistan and Iran registered over 250,000.
The statement follow below in full.
- An Afghan-owned and led peace process aimed at finding a political resolution that ends decades of conflict is the only way to deliver sustainable peace to the Afghan people and to ensure Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability.
NATO and its partners are committed to contributing to an environment conducive to this outcome.
We call on all sides to rapidly resolve the remaining issues still precluding the start of inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations.
- The current level of violence – driven especially by Taliban attacks against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, remains unacceptably high, causing instability and undermining confidence in the peace process.
During the 2018 and 2020 Eid al-Fitr ceasefires and the period of reduced violence leading up to the signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement and the issuance of the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration, all sides demonstrated the political will and capacity to stop the fighting.
Given the impact of COVID-19, we echo the call of the United Nations for the Taliban to agree to a humanitarian ceasefire that applies to all sides. Both sides must also urgently resolve issues related to prisoner releases.
- The military presence of the Alliance and its partners in the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan is conditions-based.
We will continue to consult and, if conditions allow, to adjust our military presence to support the peace process, initiated by the U.S.-Taliban agreement and the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration.
We urge the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban to fulfill their commitments, including entering into intra-Afghan negotiations and ensuring terrorists never again find safe haven on Afghan soil.
Recent heinous attacks targeting civilians, including women, children, civil society members, religious figures, and health care workers throughout Afghanistan underscore the urgency of fulfilling these critical commitments.
- NATO reaffirms its longstanding commitment to Afghanistan, the Afghan people, and the Afghan security forces through the Resolute Support Mission.
We expect intra-Afghan negotiations to lead to an enduring and comprehensive peace agreement that puts an end to violence, safeguards the human rights of all Afghans, including women and children, upholds the rule of law, and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.
The statement finishes with the powerful point which reads: “It is time for all parties to seize this moment for peace.”