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Saturday Nov 21 2020

Pakistan’s role is pivotal in achieving peace in Afghanistan: EU official

The Afghan Donor Conference is scheduled in Geneva on November 23 and 24. Photo: files 

BRUSSELS: The European Union has welcomed the recent visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Kabul and said that many of Afghanistan's problems can be resolved with Pakistan's cooperation.

These views were expressed by EU officials in a briefing about the Afghan Donor Conference, which is scheduled in Geneva on November 23 and 24. The event will take place in collaboration with the United Nations and Finland.

The EU officials said there are many aspects of Afghanistan that are locked but Pakistan has the keys to most of them.

The Afghan peace process is "complex and difficult", they said.

Violence inside Afghanistan has escalated over the last five years even after the Doha Accords.

Read more: US 'pleased' at PM Imran Khan's Kabul visit, stresses cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan

The EU officials said development and democracy in Afghanistan is in the interest of the whole world. They appealed to other countries in the region besides Iran, China, Russia and India and the Gulf countries to play their role in achieving peace in Afghanistan.

The EU appreciated the role of the Emir of Qatar, saying his efforts and hosting made talks possible between the US and Taliban.

Read more: At least 8 dead, 31 injured as multiple rockets hit Afghan capital Kabul's commercial area

Similarly, the silent role of other Gulf countries was also mentioned.

It was at the 2016 Afghan Donors Conference in Brussels the world had pledged $15.2 billion to meet Afghanistan's expenditure. It is expected that EU will participate in financial assistance this time around too.

In response to questions, an official said the EU has invested in peace in Afghanistan for 20 years. "It is not in our interest to leave Afghanistan now and soon," the official said, citing a statement from the German foreign minister.

Read more: After Afghans, Pakistanis have 'greatest stake' in peace, says PM Imran Khan

Similarly, aid to Afghanistan is conditional on a check and balance system and a corruption-free process, the official said, stressing the Taliban regime would not be accepted again.

On the participation of women in the development of Afghanistan, the EU official said they can’t support or provide assistance to projects where women's rights are not considered or respected. "Women inclusion is absolutely vital to development of normal society," the official said.