NATO and Russia’s backing for peace process welcomed

 Sat 15 Jul 2017

KABUL (SW): The National Unity Government (NUG) has hailed NATO and Russia for backing an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in the country.

Talking to reporters after the NATO-Russia Council meeting at Brussels, Secretary General Gen. Jens Stoltenberg said NATO and Russia shared a common interest in Afghanistan which is  free, safe and democratic Afghanistan.

The focus of the meeting was the importance of supporting an Afghan led and Afghan owned reconciliation process. "I welcome the fact that President Ghani has initiated such a process. And it was a meeting in Kabul a few weeks ago that was an important first step to try to re-energize or to give more strength to the reconciliation process in Afghanistan." Stoltenberg added.

Shakig Mustaghni, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), told Salam Watandar that the NUG welcomes such move. “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomes international backing for the Afghan-led peace initiative, and luckily representatives of foreign countries and international organizations backed the peace process during the Kabul Initiative Conference, and vowed full support for it”, he said.

Stoltenberg has said NATO and Russia discussed security situation in Afghanistan. In response to a question regarding support for the Taliban by Russia, the NATO SG said there are no concrete proofs in this regard. “We have seen reports, but we haven’t seen any proofs, any confirmed information about that kind of support, and Russia has clearly stated that they’re not supporting Taliban." he said.

Jawed Ghafoor, an analyst, believed backing for the peace process by the NATO and Russia is of significant importance. “If a consensus develops between the NATO and Russia on the issue of Afghanistan, and they work together for peace in Afghanistan this would be beneficial for the whole region”, he noted. Intezar Khadem, another expert on foreign affairs, said he was quite certain that the Russians have close contacts with the Taliban and other key figures in Afghanistan. “The rise of Daesh under prevailing circumstances creates questions in the minds of the Russians and NATO members”, he said while elaborating reasons behind development of concensus in this regard between Moscow and Brussels.