The US-Europe Joint Statement for Afghan Peace

The US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad announced the culmination of his trips for the Afghan Peace Process. The trips ranged from Tashkent, Doha, Kabul, and Dushanbe to ending in Berlin where the US-Europe meeting took place. The meeting signified building the regional as well as the international consensus for Afghan peace.

US-Europe Berlin Meeting 

The representatives of the US, the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, UK and NATO participated in the Berlin meeting. The meeting was held on May 6th.

The participants reaffirmed their commitment to the Afghan Peace Process through UNSC resolution  2513 (2020). Moreover, they reiterated that only an inclusive, negotiated political settlement among the Afghans can result in sustainable peace.

Following the meeting, the US State Department released a joint statement. The statement read that there is a need to accelerate the pace of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace negotiations. It further stated that it also requires the cooperation of the Kabul government, the Taliban, and other political and civil leaders.

Appreciating Actors for Peace

The meeting appreciated Qatar for its contribution to facilitating the Afghan Peace Process, including hosting and supporting Afghanistan Peace Negotiations. The US-Europe meeting also hailed the role of Turkey and the UN in laying a framework for the upcoming Istanbul Conference.

The US and Europe Condemn the Taliban for Carrying Further Hostilities

Furthermore, the Participants called upon the Taliban to stop their undeclared spring offensive and refrain from attacking civilians. They demanded an end to targeted assassinations against the civil society leaders, the clergy, healthcare personnel, judicial employees, journalists and other media workers etc.

The statement read that the Taliban must not allow any terrorist group to use Afghan soil. This includes al-Qaida, Daesh, or other terrorist groups and individuals who attempt to threaten or violate the security of any other country.

Siding with the Republic

In a tweet, Mr. Khalilzad reiterated the statement released after the Berlin meeting. He stated that if the Taliban do not choose peace, a future based on consensus and compromise, \’then we will stand with the Afghans who strive to keep the public intact.\’

Additionally, the participants also agreed that Afghanistan’s stability during peace negotiations requires substantial international development assistance. They reaffirmed their commitment to mobilize international support for reconstruction following a peace agreement based on the Geneva Conference (2020).

Afghan Government to Fight Corruption

US-European envoys called upon the Government of Afghanistan to effectively fight corruption and promote good governance. The participants stated that widespread corruption undermined the abilities of the Kabul government and the international community for resolute support.

Humanitarian Aid

The members urged the Taliban not to hinder any humanitarian effort. Therefore, the Taliban should allow humanitarian aid, without any preconditions in the areas which they control.

What can be Deduced of the US and Europe Meeting?

The US joint statement ended with gratitude for the Kabul government and the Taliban for their participation in the meeting through video. The German government was also appreciated for organising such consultations. Moreover, the participants agreed to establish, through diplomatic channels, the date, and venue of the next meeting.

This communique comes at a very interesting time as the May deadline has passed. It sublimely underpins many policy statements regarding the US endeavours in the coming days. It is a positive development that this meeting included the Taliban as well as the Kabul regime.

The participants have clarified that they will side with the faction that aims for a republic approach. They will not side with those who would prefer violence to gain the upper hand.

A Shift in Engagements

At the same time, it is healthy that policy shifting is being demanded from the Taliban for humanitarian aid. Previously any provocation would result in a collapse of the Peace Process. However, the Taliban who have increasingly vowed to act through diplomacy are expected to concede to demands regarding humanitarian aid.

Lastly, it is discernible from the statement that actors do not seek a military solution anymore. Slightly radical statements might be a pressure tact which is common in previous statements too. However, no serious policy consideration pertaining to military options is evident. All stakeholders look forward to an Intra-Afghan dialogue that would culminate for perpetual peace.


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