NATO Hopes For Restart Of Afghan Peace Process As US-Taliban Talks Put On Hold
KABUL (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 10th September, 2019) NATO Senior Civilian Representative for Afghanistan Nicolas Kay said on Tuesday, a day after Washington announced that the talks with the Taliban were "dead," that he hoped the peace process in the conflict-torn country to restart soon.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump said, after calling off secret Camp David meetings with the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last weekend, that the talks with the movement were "dead." It came after the group claimed responsibility for the attack that killed a US service member in Kabul on September 5.
Speaking at a press conference in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, Kay expressed belief that a peaceful and political solution to the crisis would be found, and the talks with the Taliban would resume. He, however, declined to speculate on when such negotiations would restart, adding that one should be cautious in this regard.
"I have pointed out that reaching peace is a long way off, and that is a long way, we need encouragement," Kay said, voicing hope that "eventually a political solution will come to fruition.
The Resolute Support Mission commander, Gen. Austin Scott Miller, in turn, pledged that the alliance would continue to support the Afghan forces and continue its operations until clear progress toward peace was made.
"The people of Afghanistan need to know that the security forces are sacrificing ... and the people should be proud [of them]. We are committed to reaching a political solution. [We will] continue our operations with the security forces," Miller said.
According to Kandahar Governor Hayatullah Hayat, the NATO representatives came to the province to support security forces in the run-up to the September 28 elections. The Taliban have earlier threatened to disrupt the voting across the country.
The United States and the Taliban for over a year have been attempting to negotiate a peace deal that would include the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the movement's counterterrorism assurances.