• publish: 10 April 2016
  • time: 11:40 am
  • category: Politics
  • No: 3744
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Rabbani: International help needed to advance peace talks

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani says the government is making every effort to advance peace and reconciliation, but those efforts will not “bear fruit” unless the Taliban comes to the negotiating table.

He commented on Saturday at the Bilateral Commission meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who made an unannounced stop in Kabul during a tour of the Middle East and Asia.

“We believe the international community can help encourage key actors in the region to have the Taliban group engage in direct talks with the Afghan government,” said the foreign minister.

Support of efforts that could lead to the resumption of peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban is one of the focal points for Kerry, who is also meeting with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah during his one-day visit to Kabul.

The so-called Quadrilateral Coordination Group, consisting of the U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, has been trying to get peace talks moving. However, Taliban representatives refused to take part in a meeting that was planned for March.

Kerry highlighted Afghanistan’s need for peace and security.

“When lasting and historic change is the goal, there are no opportunities to relax,” said Kerry.
“When you have terrorists who are attempting to stop that work, stand in the way of that work, limit its success or even turn the clock backwards, obviously there is no time to relax,” he added.

Some analysts doubt talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban will occur at all. acording to Reuters.
“There is no peace process,” said Matthew Chris Mason, a national security affairs professor at the Strategic Studies

Institute, part of the U.S. Army War College.

“The Taliban has said emphatically they are going to have no part of it,” Mason said via SKYPE.

Saturday’s session is the third meeting of the U.S.- Afghanistan Bilateral Commission. Kerry said the group would discuss security and cooperation, good governance and electoral reforms and cooperation and development.

The meeting comes ahead of the July NATO summit in Warsaw, in which the multi-national group will assess its assistance to Afghan security forces.

Another goal for Kerry during his visit is to show continued U.S. support for Afghanistan’s national unity government.

The United States helped broker the deal that produced the power-sharing arrangement between President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah that was agreed to after the disputed results of the country’s election two years ago.

National unity has been an elusive goal, however, and Afghanistan’s people appear to be deeply dissatisfied with their government.

An extensive public opinion survey released last month by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (the Voice of America’s parent agency) and the Gallup organization showed that 80 percent of all respondents were either somewhat or very dissatisfied with the Ghani-Abdullah government.

Much of the public dissatisfaction is related to Kabul’s stalled efforts to begin peace talks with the Taliban amid frequent violent incidents around the country.

Kerry’s trip to Afghanistan was part of a week-long trip to the Middle East and Asia that also included an unannounced stop in Baghdad.

Next, he travels to Japan, where he will attend a G-7 ministerial meeting and visit a World War II memorial.

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