Rasmussen for military pressure on rebels
BRUSSELS (PAN): The NATO secretary-general on Tuesday reiterated his support for efforts at a political process in Afghanistan, stressing the role of Pakistan and other neighbours in stabilising the country.
“If we are to ensure long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan, we also need a positive engagement of Afghanistan’s neighbours including Pakistan. So I hope the trilateral talks can facilitate such engagement,” he said.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters here he would meet President Hamid Karzai on the sidelines of the ongoing meeting of foreign ministers of NATO and ISAF nations on future cooperation with Afghan forces.
Commenting on the Afghan-led reconciliation campaign, the secretary-general commended efforts to find a political settlement in the war-torn country. “The Afghan government must be in the driver’s seat,” he stressed.
Rasmussen explained the groups and individuals involved in the process should respect the Afghan constitution, including full respect for human rights, and cut links to terrorist groups.
He believed the best way to facilitate the political process was to keep up military pressure so that the enemies of Afghanistan realised they had no chance to prevail on the battlefield.
The NATO chief said he was encouraged by the progress of the Afghan forces, which were capable of taking full responsibility for their security by the end of 2014.
He urged the Karzai administration to conduct next year’s elections in a credible and transparent manner. “The international community is not going to interfere with the election process in Afghanistan. We can assist when it comes to security.”
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