Afghanistan: seizing opportunities for peace
Foreign Minister Maas meets with his Afghan colleague Rabbani in Berlin on 28 June 2019, © Thomas Imo/photothek.net
During a visit by his Afghan counterpart, Foreign Minister Maas pledged to support the intra‑Afghan dialogue and stressed the importance of maintaining the progress that has been made on, for example, women’s and minority rights.
Germany welcomes and supports ongoing efforts by the Government of Afghanistan towards peace and understanding. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised this today (28 June) at a meeting with his counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani.
Since last year, these efforts have gathered new and promising momentum. In February 2018, President Ashraf Ghani proposed peace talks without any preconditions to the Taliban. Then, in June, weapons on both sides fell silent for the first time in a long while during a three‑day ceasefire. Moreover, since January 2019, talks have been under way in Doha between Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, and representatives of the Taliban.
“Peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved by Afghans themselves”
The German Government believes that direct talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban are needed to prepare the ground for negotiations on lasting peace in Afghanistan; so far, the Taliban have not agreed to such talks. “Peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved by Afghans themselves,” Foreign Minister Maas emphasised after his meeting with Foreign Minister Rabbani in Berlin. Maas called on all sides to seize the opportunity for peace, addressing this call particular to the Taliban.
Maas also said that Germany is ready to support the commencement of an intra‑Afghan dialogue, as a building block that would facilitate the start of negotiations as such on the future of Afghanistan. He went on to emphasise that this solution must not jeopardise the country’s accomplishments so far. In particular, the progress that has been made on human, women’s and minority rights must not be called into question.
Germany will maintain its presence in Afghanistan
Germany provides the second‑largest contingent of international troops in Afghanistan, currently totalling up to 1300 soldiers. In March 2019, the German Bundestag voted to extend by another year the Bundeswehr’s participation in the NATO‑led Resolute Support Mission. Germany has been involved in training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces since 1 January 2015. Germany will thereby maintain its presence in Afghanistan. Future adaptation of the mission will depend on progress in the peace process.