Near-record violence dangers derailing peace negotiations between Afghan authorities, Taliban: Top UN official

United Nations, September 4

Near-record violence in Afghanistan in the previous couple of weeks creates an environment of distrust and dangers derailing the peace negotiations set to start quickly between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban, based on a high UN official within the war-ravaged nation.

The deliberate negotiations stem from a landmark pact the US signed with the Taliban in February to advertise a peaceable settlement to the Afghan conflict, the longest abroad army intervention by the American army.

“As I speak, Afghans representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are preparing to sit with other Afghans representing the Taliban to discuss, at long last, a political settlement to the conflict. This is truly a historic moment,” Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, mentioned in a briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday.

“After 4 many years of conflict, the folks of Afghanistan have extra purpose than ever to hope that this devastating battle, which has introduced a lot struggling, might lastly come to an finish,” mentioned Lyons, additionally the Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

She, nonetheless, warned that this could be an extended and difficult course of and already, the pre-talks part had raised tough points associated to prisoner releases, which had taken 5 months to resolve.

“Eventually the negotiations will have to tackle a range of profound questions about the kind of country Afghans want. These can only be addressed by Afghans talking with other Afghans. Solutions will not be found on the battlefield, we know this, nor can they be imposed from the outside,” she mentioned.

Lyons cautioned that regardless of the air of cautious optimism, the extent of violence on the battlefield stays deeply worrying and the previous couple of weeks have seen near-record numbers of safety incidents, together with egregious assaults by spoilers concentrating on civilians concerned within the peace course of.

“We should have in mind the horrible penalties of this violence. The battle continues to kill and injure lots of of Afghans each week…And – as we glance in the direction of the peace talks – this violence additionally creates an environment of distrust that dangers derailing negotiations,” she mentioned.

With the negotiations, hosted by Qatar, set to launch quickly, she exhorted events to position a humanitarian ceasefire atop the agenda, and pressed all international locations to amplify this name.

“The coming days will hopefully deliver the formal launch of intra-Afghan negotiations. I mentioned the approaching days, not the approaching weeks,” she mentioned thanking member states, together with Qatar and the United States in addition to many others “who have engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts to get us to this point”.

“For our part, the UN will be working with international partners to support both parties and the host countries throughout the process.”     

She added {that a} peace course of, and even a peace settlement, doesn’t peace make.

“All of us must do our part to create a conducive environment for peace talks. In parallel, we must ensure that the ground is prepared for peace to flourish once an agreement is reached,” she mentioned.

Women’s rights are additionally rising as among the many most tough points confronting the events as they enter negotiations – and one round which any compromises will pose a tough dilemma for member states, she mentioned.

“This issue will be more central in the Afghan peace process than we have ever seen in any other peace negotiation in recent memory,” she added. 

Lyons mentioned she has initiated a sequence of conferences with a national community of Afghan girls on the peace course of, which is giving the UN essential insights into their considerations, in addition to attainable avenues for higher engagement.

“But we all know that it is women’s representation at the peace table that offers the best opportunity to ensure that their own rights are upheld, and that their vision for elements of a peaceful Afghanistan is reflected in all aspects of the talks,” she mentioned.

Lyons recommended the ladies members of the Afghan negotiating group and different peace buildings for his or her energetic outreach and substantive preparations for intra-Afghan talks.

“As of this moment, we are not yet aware of any women’s representation on the Taliban side, but we remain hopeful that they, too, will find a way of meaningfully including women, the other 50 per cent of the population, in their negotiation team,” she mentioned. PTI

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