By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS (PA) – Afghan Foreign Minister on Tuesday accused the Taliban of committing their worst violence in the past two decades and urged the international community to try to persuade the Taliban to honor a February 2020 deal with the United States to reduce violence and begin peace negotiations.
Mohammad Haneef Atmar told the UN Security Council that with the withdrawal of US and NATO troops “due to be completed in the coming weeks”, the international community should also establish a “mechanism” to monitor the implementation of the agreement reached in Doha, the capital of Qatar, and the council resolution supporting it, “and to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance.”
As part of the deal, the United States agreed to withdraw its troops in exchange for a promise from the Taliban to denounce terrorist groups and prevent Afghanistan from once again being an arena for attacks on it. America, reduce violence and work with the government on a permanent ceasefire, and begin negotiations with the government to restore peace to the war-torn country.
Atmar said in his virtual briefing to the ministerial council meeting that the United States and regional partners have fulfilled almost all of their obligations in the agreement, but “it is a sad reality that the Taliban have not honored any of the their obligations “and left the country and region” dangerously unstable “,
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He pointed to the Taliban’s failure to sever ties with international terrorist groups, claiming that they harbor “not only al-Qaida but also regional terrorist groups (…) in the pursuit of their campaign of violence against it. ‘Afghanistan and other countries’.
He urged the Taliban to explain to the world community why they said they were fighting foreign troops in Afghanistan and “killing their Afghan compatriots, and especially civilians, where foreign troops are leaving the country now.”
UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons told the council she could not overstate her concern over the situation, saying every major trend – politics, security, peace process, economy, emergency humanitarian aid and the fight against COVID-19 – is either ‘negative or stagnant’.
While the Afghans knew the international forces would leave, she said President Joe Biden’s announcement in mid-April that the remaining 2,500 to 3,500 troops would be gone by September 11 caused “an earthquake shake. in the Afghan political system and society in general âbecause of the speed of their departure.
A US-led coalition launched an invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to hunt down and destroy the al-Qaida network and its leader, Osama bin Laden, blamed for the 9/11 attacks on America, and toppled the Taliban, who during their reign imposed a hard mark on Islam.
Biden said in April that the United States was leaving, having achieved its goals: Al-Qaida had been significantly diminished, Bin Laden was dead, and America no longer needed boots on the ground to fight terrorist threats that could emanate from Afghanistan. On Friday, Biden will meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the country’s High Council for National Reconciliation, which oversees the government’s negotiating team with the Taliban.
Lyons said escalating Taliban violence over the past year, even as peace talks began in Doha in September, and its latest intensified military campaign led to significant advances for the insurgents.
âMore than 50 of Afghanistan’s 370 districts have fallen since the beginning of May,â said the UN envoy. âMost of the districts that have been taken surround the provincial capitals, which suggests that the Taliban are positioning themselves to try to take these capitals once the foreign forces are fully withdrawn. “
She also highlighted a 29% increase in civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year, including a 37% increase in casualties among women and a 23% increase in children. She highlighted the May 8 attack on school-leaving girls in a Hazara-majority area of ââKabul that killed nearly 100 young female students, and two attacks this month that killed 11 people while clearing the province of Kabul. Baghlan and five people engaged in polio vaccinations in Nangarhar. Province.
Lyons said the military campaign is leading the country towards a recent statement by the head of the Taliban Political Commission who said, “We are determined to move forward with the other parties in an atmosphere of mutual respect and to achieve a deal”.
The United Nations had hoped to speed up the stalled negotiations in Doha thanks to a conference in Istanbul in April that was reportedly co-hosted by Turkey, Qatar and the UN, but the Taliban never officially responded to the invitation, Lyons said, and “the drivers of conflict so far seem to be crushing” hopes for negotiations.
Lyons urged the UN Security Council and countries in the region to do everything “to prevent the country from heading down a path of more bloodshed and suffering.”
“There is only one acceptable direction for Afghanistan (…) away from the battlefield and back to the negotiating table,” she said. “The tragic history of the conflict does not need to be repeated, but left to its own devices and our inertia, it just might.”
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield reiterated the United States’ commitment to the safety and security of Afghanistan and the continued support to its security forces and to its economic and humanitarian needs.
She also urged influential countries to press for negotiations between the Taliban and the government to move towards a peace settlement “with the full participation of women.”
âTo the Taliban, we reiterate that the military path will not lead to legitimacy,â Thomas-Greenfield said, noting that council members from Europe, Russia and China also stressed that there was no military solution to the conflict.
“The world will not recognize the establishment in Afghanistan of a government imposed by force, nor the restoration of the Islamic Emirate (under the Taliban),” warned Thomas-Greenfield. âThere is only one way forward: a negotiated and inclusive political settlement through an Afghan-led and controlled process. “
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