For far too long, people in Afghanistan have suffered war and violence. The current conflict, which has claimed the lives of many civilians and continues to impede the country’s reconstruction and development to this day, began almost 20 years ago.
A political settlement is the only way forward
The agreement signed in Doha today between the US and the Taliban and the Joint Declaration between Afghanistan and the US could generate important momentum for ending the war in the country. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented as follows:
The recent developments in Kabul and Doha are a sign of peace. They create long-awaited prospects for a peace process in Afghanistan.
The headline of the agreement and joint declaration is “Bringing Peace to Afghanistan”. These developments serve to corroborate those who, like the German Government, believe that the conflict can only be solved by a political settlement even if this requires great perseverance.
The agreement now reached between the US and the Taliban is itself the outcome of lengthy negotiations, which were frequently suspended. It ultimately proved possible to sign the agreement because the prerequisite for doing so, namely a week-long reduction in violence, was largely observed.
An intra-Afghan peace process is the next step
A timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is a key part of the agreement just signed. In return, the Taliban has agreed to take part in intra-Afghan peace talks and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a source of terrorist activities and threats again.
It is now crucial that the Taliban further reduce the violence. All stakeholders must fulfil their obligations and start intra-Afghan talks as soon as possible,
said Foreign Minister Maas.
An inclusive intra-Afghan peace process is the next step needed for peace in Afghanistan. The aim of these talks should be a comprehensive peace agreement for the country based on the achievements of the past years, particularly in the fields of the rule of law and human rights. Foreign Minister Maas issued the following call:
There can be no return to the Taliban’s absolute totalitarian rule at the expense of an entire generation of young women and men.
The German Government is willing to provide substantial support to this process by fostering dialogue and confidence-building. This was also the aim of the Intra-Afghan Conference for Peace that took place in Doha in July 2019 with German support.