About fifteen diplomatic representations in Kabul on Monday called on the Taliban to cease their offensive in Afghanistan, which contradicts “their affirmed support for a negotiated settlement” of the conflict.
In a statement, the delegation of the European Union, the office of the High Civilian Representative of NATO and 15 embassies, mostly Western, call for “an urgent end to the ongoing military offensive of the Taliban, which is hampering efforts to achieve a negotiated solution to the conflict ”.
The Taliban have seized large swathes of rural territory since early May, raising fears that they will regain power by force after the end of the final withdrawal of international forces by the end of August. Now deprived of crucial American air support, the Afghan forces offered little resistance.
“The Taliban offensive is in direct contradiction with their affirmed support for a negotiated settlement of the conflict and for the Doha peace process” launched in September, say diplomatic representations, the day after another sterile weekend of negotiations in the United States. Qatar.
The UN mission in Afghanistan (Unama), for its part, called on Monday the Afghan government and the Taliban for a ceasefire “to allow all Afghans to celebrate in peace” Eid el-Adha, the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice, urging them to “seize the opportunity of a permanent ceasefire, peace accord and lasting peace offered by the Doha talks”.
No ceasefire in sight
With the approach of Eid, which begins on July 20 for three days, no ceasefire has yet been announced, while the Taliban have decided several truces in recent years on the occasion of Muslim holidays, especially last May during Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the month of Ramadan.
Sunday, at the end of a new round of negotiations in Qatar, the two parties simply indicated that they had agreed on the need to find a “just solution” and to meet again “next week”. According to Qatari mediator Moutlaq al-Qahtani, the two camps “barely agreed” to try “to avoid civilian victims”, far from the hoped-for ceasefire.
The head of the Afghan government council overseeing the peace process, Abdullah Abdullah, acknowledged Monday that “the Afghan people obviously expected much more.” “But the door for negotiations remains open,” he told AFP, saying he hoped for progress “within a few weeks”.
The United States’ envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Twitter, described the resumption of talks as “a positive step” on Twitter while insisting that “more needed to be done. ’emergency be done’.
In a message Sunday on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, the leader of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada, repeated to remain “resolutely in favor of a political settlement (…) despite the advance and the military victories” of the last two months . The group wishes “good, solid diplomatic, economic and political relations (…) with all countries, including the United States” after the withdrawal of foreign troops.
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he wanted to discuss with the Taliban who oppose Turkish troops to take charge of the security of Kabul airport after the departure of international forces, which Ankara is negotiating with Washington . “We are trying to see what discussions we can have with the Taliban and where these exchanges can take us” about it, he said.
The Taliban recently warned Turkey against keeping the military in Afghanistan, saying “invaders will be treated as such”, but Erdogan put the threats into perspective, arguing that the Taliban “did not say they did not want Turkey ”.
Acquired in danger
The Taliban offensive “causes suffering and displaces the civilian population”, underline Monday the diplomatic representations, denouncing the targeted killings, destruction of the vital infrastructures, threats, and other measures against the gains of the last 20 years. They castigate “contempt for the rule of law”, attacks on the rights of women and girls and on freedom of expression and of the press in areas conquered by the Taliban, refuting the assurances of their leader, in his Eid message, on the respect of these principles by a future “Islamic Emirate” in power in Kabul.
The Islamic Emirate was the name of the Taliban regime, based on an ultrarigorist interpretation of Islamic law, which ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 and was ousted by a US-led coalition.
Since Washington announced in 2020 the future final departure of foreign troops, the Taliban have been trying to display a more modern and moderate image, especially vis-à-vis abroad. Washington has also announced the upcoming reception and for a few days, on a military base in Virginia, of some 700 interpreters and other Afghans who have assisted the American army as well as their immediate families, that is to say approximately 2,500 people.
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