WASHINGTON: The international community will provide political and economic support to a future government in Afghanistan only if it preserves and respects internationally-recognised rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities, says a document released on Monday.
The document, signed by the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States, also supports a joint US and Russian resolve not to recognise the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Representatives of these nations met in Doha, Qatar, on March 1, a day after the United States and the Taliban signed a peace deal in Doha to end the Afghan war.
They agreed to support the deal that seeks to end 19 years of war and blood-letting in Afghanistan but also spelled out their conditions for doing so.
The joint statement “reaffirms existing commitments to provide political support and economic and development assistance toa future Afghan government, providedthat it preserves and respectsthe internationally-recognised rights of all Afghans also reflected in the Afghan Constitution, including for women, youth and minorities.”
The document also requires the future Afghan government to “respond to the desire of Afghans to build on the gains achieved since 2001”, which includes guarantees to preserve women’s rights included in the Afghan constitution.
The signatories “reaffirmed that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not recognisedby the international community and furthermore, the international community will notaccept orsupport therestorationofthe Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.
The United States and Russia expressed a similar resolve in a document signed in Doha on Feb 28, a day before the Afghan peace deal was signed.
The two documents make it clear that the US-Taliban deal is not a unilateral US commitment to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. It also has international support but this support is conditional, which bind the Taliban leaders to fulfill their commitments too. Failure to do so can delay the withdrawal and can also affect future international assistance to Afghanistan.
According to this document, the nations that signed the joint statement welcomed the important steps, enabled by the US–Taliban agreement and the US–Afghanistan joint declaration of Feb 29, towards ending the war and opening the door to intra-Afghan negotiations scheduled for March 10.
They expressed their readiness to work towards a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement that ends the war, contributes to regional stability and global security, respects the internationally-recognised rights of all Afghans also reflected in the Afghan Constitution, and is honored by all Afghans, including the Afghan government, political leaders, civil society and the Taliban.
They reiterated that a comprehensive and sustainable peace can be achieved only through an inclusive negotiated political settlement among Afghans, in which, notably, women participate meaningfully, and by respecting Afghanistan’s integrity and sovereignty.
They welcomed the Talibancommitting to join apolitical process andtheirprospective role in anew post-settlement Afghan Islamic government as determined by the intra-Afghan negotiations.
They appreciated the Feb 22-28 reduction of violence and urgedall sides tofurther decrease violence in order to create an environment conducive to intra-Afghan negotiations.
They called on theTaliban and other Afghan armed groupstotake concrete steps to ensure thattheterritory of Afghanistan should not be used by either them or Al Qaeda, the militant Islamic State group, which is also known as Daesh,or other international terrorist groups to threaten or attack other countries.
The signatories stated their expectations that all sides would observe a ceasefire for the duration of intra-Afghan negotiations to enable participants to reach agreement on a political roadmap for Afghanistan’s future and modalities of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
They called on all Afghans to begin discussions immediately on issues of mutual concern, such as prisoner releases and a ceasefire.
The signing nations reaffirmed existing commitments to continue assistance to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces on a sustainable basis.
They took note of the readiness of the United States upon the commencement of the intra-Afghan negotiations to engage with other members of the United Nations Security Council and Afghanistan to review the status ofsanctionsdesignations in order to support the peace process.
They notedthat Taliban action tofurtherreduce violence, make sustained efforts to advance intra-Afghan negotiations, and otherwise cease to engage in or support activities that threaten the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan or other countries, will affect the review.
They encouraged all countries to support the Afghan people and contribute to a lasting peace settlement in the interest of all and welcomed all international efforts that support the Afghan peace process.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2020