Freign troops’ withdrawal in Afghanistan should ensure steady transition of situation: Extended Troika

ISLAMABAD:The Extended Troika on peaceful settlement of Afghan issue reiterated that the withdrawal of foreign troops should ensure a steady transition of situation in Afghanistan, besides stressing upon Taliban not to pursue their spring offensive.

The text of the joint statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the occasion of the Extended “Troika” on Peaceful Settlement in Afghanistan held in Doha, Qatar on April 30.

Representatives of the extended “Troika,” comprising the United States, the Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China and Islamic Republic of Pakistan, met in Doha, Qatar to discuss ways to support intra-Afghan negotiations and help the parties reach a negotiated settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, foreign office spokesperson said in a press release on Saturday.

According to statement, the Troika reiterated that there was no military solution in Afghanistan and a negotiated political settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process was the only way forward for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The extended “Troika” met with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan negotiating team and of the Taliban, as well as Qatar.

“We urge the Government of the Islamic Republic and the High Council for National Reconciliation to engage openly with their Taliban counterparts regarding a negotiated settlement. We do not support the establishment in Afghanistan of any government imposed by force,” it maintained.

It called upon the negotiating parties to make progress toward an inclusive political settlement and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire.

“We strongly advocate a durable and just political resolution that will result in the formation of an independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic, neutral and self-sufficient Afghanistan, free of terrorism and an illicit drug industry, which contributes to a safe environment for the voluntary, expeditious and sustainable return of Afghan refugees through a well-resourced plan; stability; and global security,” it added.

While acknowledging the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for a lasting and just peace and an end to the war, it also noted April 14 announcement by the United States and NATO that US/NATO forces would begin a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, that conclude by September 11, 2021.

“We reiterate that the withdrawal of foreign troops should ensure a steady transition of the situation in Afghanistan. We stress that, during the withdrawal period, the peace process should not be disrupted, no fights or turbulence shall occur in Afghanistan, and the safety of international troops should be ensured,” the statement said.

The Troika urged the Taliban to fulfill its counterterrorism commitments, including preventing terrorist groups and individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country; not hosting these groups and preventing them from recruiting, training, and fundraising.

It also expected the Afghan government to continue counterterrorism cooperation with the international community.

“We reiterate our call on all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to reduce the level of violence in the country and on the Taliban not to pursue a Spring offensive. We condemn in the strongest terms any attacks deliberately targeting civilians in Afghanistan and call on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to protection of civilians,” it added.

It also stressed that that diplomatic personnel and property should be inviolable, and the perpetrators of any attack or threat on foreign diplomatic personnel and properties in Kabul would be held accountable.

It also extended it support to review the status of designations of Taliban individuals and entities on the UN 1988 sanctions, as stated in the UNSC resolution 2513 (2020).

Practical measures to reduce violence and sustained efforts to advance intra-Afghan negotiations by the Taliban would positively affect this review process.

The extended Troika also noted preparations by Turkey to host a conference of senior leaders of both Afghan parties in order to accelerate the intra-Afghan negotiations, and welcomed the United Nations and Qatar’s roles as co-conveners of this dialogue.

The Troika further stressed upon all Afghans including the Government of the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to ensure that terrorist groups and individuals should not use Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country.

It also reaffirmed that any peace agreement must include protections for the rights of all Afghans, including women, men, children, victims of war, and minorities, and should respond to the strong desire of all Afghans for economic, social and political development including the rule of law.