NATO Hails Afghan Talks As ‘Historic Opportunity’
Nato hailed the start of peace talks between the Taleban and the Afghan government on Saturday (Sept 12) as a “historic
opportunity”, while warning that violence in the country remained “unacceptably high”.
“This is a historic opportunity. #NATO stands with #Afghanistan to preserve the gains made and to ensure the country
never again becomes a haven for terrorists,” Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.
In a longer statement from the Western military alliance
it said that the peace talks underway in Qatar were “an important step toward bringing lasting peace and stability to
Afghanistan after decades of conflict.”
NATO took part in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and then led the UN-mandated force to stabilize the
country which at its height numbered 130,000 troops.
The Brussels-based organization urged the government and the Taliban to “seize this opportunity for peace” at the start of
talks which are expected to be rocky.
Abdullah Abdullah, who is leading the government’s negotiating team, called for an immediate, humanitarian ceasefire on
Saturday — but his plea went unanswered by Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
NATO said that “current violence levels – driven by Taliban attacks against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces –
remain unacceptably high and undermine confidence in the peace process.
“We call on the Taliban to take decisive steps toward ending violence,” it added.
The talks are being held in a hotel conference room in Doha, where chairs were dotted at socially distanced intervals facing
a banner emblazoned with the words “Afghan Peace Negotiations” in four languages.