Conflicts & War

Taliban, government negotiators agree on ‘peaceful’ end to Afghan quagmire

Kabul, July 8 (EFE) Taliban and government negotiators Thursday agreed to work on “a peaceful and political solution” to Afghan problems after they met in Tehran amid rapid territorial advances by the insurgents following a pullout of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

The two sides concluded their talks in the Iranian capital of Tehran on the stalled Afghan peace process.

In a joint statement after a two-day meeting backed by the Iranian government, they agreed that war was “not the ultimate solution for problems” in Afghanistan.

“The two sides while taking into consideration the danger and harm from continuation of the war to the safety of country agreed that … all efforts should be focused on a peaceful and political solution.”

They claimed that the talks took place in “a cordial atmosphere.”

The two sides decided to meet again to discuss some issues related to Afghan security that needed further discussions.

These include “drafting of a transition mechanism on how to transform from war to a permanent peace, an all agreed Islamic system and the ways how to achieve these goals,” they said.

Both sides condemned the attacks on civilians, residential houses, schools, mosques, and hospitals.

They also denounced civilian casualties and the destruction of public infrastructure and sought punishment for the perpetrators.

The government representatives included senior peace adviser to President Ashraf Ghani Salam Rahimi and former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanuni.

The meeting comes amid global efforts to resume the stalled intra-Afghan talks that began in Doha last September.

Violence spiked in the war-ravaged country as the Taliban made swift territorial gains since May 1, when the American and international forces began withdrawing from Afghanistan.

But the Afghan forces recaptured Qala-e-Naw city of the northwestern Badghis province that fell to the Taliban on Wednesday.

“The city is completely cleared of the terrorists and there is no fighting inside the city,” Defense Ministry spokesperson Fawad Aman told EFE.

The Taliban gained control of the provincial capital city on Wednesday morning after more than 600 personnel from the government forces surrendered to the advancing insurgents with their weapons.

At least 69 Taliban fighters were killed and 23 injured in the counterattack by the Afghan forces.

Badghis in northwestern Afghanistan is one of the most underdeveloped provinces in the country.

It holds strategic importance for both the government and the Taliban as it shares a border with Turkmenistan in the north and connects northwestern Afghan provinces with western Herat province.

The Afghan government has confirmed that the insurgents had captured more than 100 of the country’s 400 districts, which it blamed on a lack of military support to the Afghan forces after the pullout of international troops.

“The Taliban’s territorial gains are due to several reasons… mainly as a result of the retreat (of foreign forces) as some of our own resources were not enough,” Hamdullah Mohib, National Security Advisor of the country, told reporters.

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