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    EU calls for political solution to Afghan conflict

    KABUL (PAN): The European Union supports a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, an EU official told the audience at seminar on the Afghan reconciliation process.

    "While the military operations led by NATO with troops from 48 countries are a core part of the battle to stop the insurgency in Afghanistan, it is not enough," said the head of the European Union Delegation to Afghanistan and EU Special Representative Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas.

    Usackas delivered an address Tuesday at the Academy of Sciences in Kabul as part of a two-day seminar titled, “Perspectives on Reconciliation and Reintegration.” The event was organized to address a range of topics pertaining to the peace process, including transparency, building public consensus and engaging the younger generation in Afghanistan.

    The EU strongly supports the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Programme and the work of the High Peace Council, he said.

    Usackas acknowledged that some civil society groups have raised concerns about the possible negative impact the reintegration programme could have. "Whereas it is important to remember that reintegration does not mean impunity for criminal acts, we must find a way to bring members of the insurgency back into society, so that Afghanistan can be at peace and continue to involve civil society in this process," he said.

    Usackas stressed that the reconciliation process must foster sustainable peace within the country by involving every sector of society.

    "Every Afghan needs to be involved in ending the conflict and building a better future for themselves,” he said. “The EU works closely with the government to reach out to different parts of Afghan society, to listen to the concerns of people, of human rights organizations, the Parliament and others."