European Union’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson has praised Pakistan’s proactive role for regional peace and stability, particularly for Afghanistan.
Violence in Afghanistan has been increasing since May 1, when the withdrawal of troops began. The situation looks particularly grim because of the stalemate in the talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha. The two sides have made little progress in their negotiations since their dialogue started last September.
The talks plunged into uncertainty after President Joe Biden in April announced that US would pull out troops from Afghanistan by Sept 11, ending one of the longest overseas American military engagements. Much like his predecessor Donald Trump keeping the Afghanistan government out of its Feb 2020 agreement with the Taliban, President Biden’s decision is believed to have taken away the reason from the Taliban for talking. The insurgent group is already considering itself victorious.
The envoy, in a statement issued by EU Pakistan, said “the EU and Pakistan reiterate their strong support for an Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace process, involving all stakeholders to collectively work for achieving lasting peace in the region and Afghanistan in particular.”
Niklasson said peace in Afghanistan was linked to socioeconomic development of Afghanistan and it would also strengthen regional integration and connectivity.
He said, “My meetings reaffirmed the position of both the EU and Pakistan, that only a political settlement through inclusive dialogue, offers hope for durable peace.”
On several occasions, he said, the EU and Pakistan have called upon all parties to strive for the elimination of violence as a genuine commitment to peace and reconciliation.
“The European Union will make every effort to support the peace process, which should protect and strengthen progress on human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, with special relevance to women and girls, laying the foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan,” he assured.
He underlined the EU’s efforts to the Afghan peace process and continued engagement with regional partners as he concluded his first official visit to Pakistan on Wednesday.
During the three-day visit, Special Envoy Niklasson held meetings with both civil and military leadership, including Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq, MoFA Director General (Iran/Afghanistan/Turkey) Asif H. Memon, Chief of General Staff Lt. General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and Director-General Analysis ISI Major General Tabassum Habib.
The envoy also met with several foreign ambassadors to Pakistan, including the European Union Member States, members of think tanks and local and international journalists during his visit to the country.