EU Special Envoy seeks end to violence in Kabul

KABUL (Tolo News): Violence must stop and peace talks should move from procedures to substantial negotiations, the European Union’s new special envoy Tomas Niklasson said, reaffirming continued support the Afghan people and the government.
“As the troops are withdrawing, the EU’s intention is to stay in Afghanistan – continuing our support to the people,” he said. “The violence must stop and the peace talks must move from discussions on procedures to substantial negotiations. I would be happy the day sanctions on the Taliban could be lifted. For that to happen we need to see significant progress in the peace process and a stop to violence.” Talking to TOLOnews, the EU special envoy said that he has grave concerns over a dramatic surge in the level of civilian casualties.
“Our first call is on a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire,” he said. “And that is not because it is in our interest, it is because we see Afghans—all Afghans suffering, that is one thing and that is first thing, but the second thing is that by reducing the level of violence, by agreeing on a ceasefire, you signal a commitment, you signal that you are serious, you show to the people that you care about them and you care about the future.” The EU envoy said that he will travel to Pakistan and Qatar to garner support for the Afghan peace process.
“The EU is ready to continue its engagement with the Afghan people and with the Afghan government, but it is an opportunity for the Afghan people now to come together to leadership, to leave narrow interests behind them and to raise up to the occasion,” he said. He asked the Afghan government to fight against corruption and deliver on its promises towards human rights and children’s rights.
“The EU is ready to continue its cooperation as a reliable partner, but we expect that the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will respect its international commitments, its commitments to the rights of women, its commitments to the rights of children and to continue to fight corruption,” he said. The calls for an end to violence comes as fighting continues on multiple fronts between Afghan forces and the Taliban.
In a latest incident of violence, Mina Khairi, a presenter at Ariana News, and her mother are among the victims of blast in Kabul that killed four people, the head of the Ariana News, Sharif Hassanyar, confirmed. In western Afghanistan, four security force members including Shafiq Jahid, acting police chief for Farsi district in Herat were killed in a Taliban attack on an outpost in Farsi district, the provincial governor Waheed Qatali said. At least ten civilians were killed and 14 more wounded in two explosions that targeted two buses near the Ahlolbait Mosque in the Sar-e-Karez area of PD3 in Kabul city.