Saturday Apr 28, 2018
BRUSSELS: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fully supports Afghanistan-led peace talks with the Taliban, the military alliance said in a statement Friday.
The joint notification, which comprised comments by foreign ministers of various NATO member states, noted the group's "commitment to the development of the Afghan security and defence forces through a conditions-based approach for our Resolute Support Mission".
NATO "will respect and support a negotiated political settlement led by the Afghan Government which ends violence, cuts ties to terrorism and protects the human rights of all Afghan citizens.
"We also support the Afghan Government's intention to address all contested issues between the parties, including those relating to the future role of the international community in Afghanistan," the statement read.
In doing so, the alliance further emphasised on the role the South Asian nations, especially Pakistan, can play in helping Afghanistan achieve the long-sought peace.
It said: "Regional actors have a significant role to play in support of peace and stabilization in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan facilitates important logistical supply lines for the Resolute Support Mission. We believe Pakistan's role will be important to a peace process, including in encouraging the Taliban to change their calculus.
"We encourage Pakistan to act on its stated support for a political solution to the Afghan conflict, to close terrorist sanctuaries and to work to prevent terrorist financial flows and cross-border attacks, including by working with its neighbours."
The NATO member nations went on to underscore that countries such as Iran and Russia can also play a pivotal role in Afghanistan's "peace and reconciliation efforts".
"We also encourage Iran and Russia to contribute to regional stability by fully supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process."
Reiterating what US President Donald Trump has been urging over the past few months, the NATO commented that terrorist safe havens must be eliminated and funding to banned outfits halted.
Importantly, "both internal security threats and terrorists who seek to use Afghanistan as a safe haven from which to plot attacks on other nations" need to be tackled.
The role of Pakistan in the Afghan peace process is also quite significant as Islamabad and Washington together must work to shut down terrorist safe havens and stop terrorist financing altogether.
Pakistan can lend support by assisting key logistics supply lines under the Afghan Support Mission, the NATO said, adding that confirmed aid from Afghanistan's east-side neighbour would be encouraging for a political solution.