Afghanistan in dire need of political settlement – UN

NEW YORK, A UN official said Tuesday recent events in Afghanistan proved more than ever the need for a political settlement, and noted efforts exerted last year created chances for peace and inspired hopes among many parties.

“Solving the conflict can only take place through direct talks among the Afghan people and these talks should be comprehensive and include all Afghan people,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, told a UNSC session on Afghanistan.

He said any political settlement should guarantee protection of human rights, including women, youth and minorities, as well as freedom of speech and press.

Yamamoto, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, called for start of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“The Afghan people have hopes and fears about the future, and they hope to put an end to this conflict, but they also fear peace will be at the expense of freedom and rights,” he said.

Afghanistan will hold presidential elections at end of this month, the fourth since 2001.

Yamamoto said Afghan security authorities were cooperating with international partners to ensure secured election day.

US President Donald Trump said, two days ago, he cancelled a secret meeting with Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David and “called off peace negotiations” due to Taliban attack in Kabul last week that killed an American soldier and 11 other people.

Trump said in a tweet “unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight.” US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad announced on Monday a peace agreement in principle with the Taliban, following rounds of talks between the US nd the movement in Qatar.

The US has around 14,000 forces in Afghanistan, of them 5,400 were supposed to pull out in line with the proposed peace agreement.

Source: Kuwait News Agency