Taliban office be restricted to peace talks only: Tanin
“I wish to also make clear to the international community, all member-states, and international and regional organizations, that the Taliban office was established for one clear objective: peace talks … that strictly observe agreed principles, as mentioned,” Zahir Tanin said in his address to the UN Security Council.
“Any other activity or function undertaken by or with the Taliban office outside the Afghan-led peace talks purposes is unacceptable,” Tanin said during the council’s special meeting on Afghanistan.
While Afghanistan is committed to a peace process and reconciliation that ensures a permanent end to the conflict, Tanin said pursuing a process that will undermine the hard-won gains of the past 12 years: the constitution, the tights of all citizens, particularly women; and democratic order, will, by no means, be acceptable to Afghan people.
“Afghanistan does not recognize such a thing as the "Emirate of the Taliban." Raising the Taliban flag on Tuesday in Doha, was just a reminder of a dark and bloody past from which our country still struggles emerge,” he said.
“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sole sovereign and legitimate authority chosen by Afghan people and recognized and supported by the international community,” the top Afghan diplomat said.
“Further, Afghanistan's ownership of the peace and reconciliation process is indispensible, and it will not be compromised. Any successful outcome to reconciliation process requires preserving the Afghan-led and Afghan-managed character of negotiations. This is an issue that has been recognized and endorsed, both in Afghanistan, and by the international community as a whole, including this distinguished Council,” Tanin said.
Briefing members of the Security Council on the peace talks, Tanin said early this year Afghanistan and the US had reached an agreement on the opening of a Taliban Office in Doha, Qatar, under assurances that peace talks would be conducted in accordance with a concrete set of principles.
“These are the sole purpose of the office would be to serve as a venue for direct negotiations between the Taliban and the High Peace Council; The office would not serve as an official representation of the Taliban in the form of a "Government", "Embassy", "Emirate", or "sovereign"; The office would not engage in, or support any activity related to terrorism and acts of violence, inconsistent with international law, and consistent with provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1988/2082;” he said.
“Yet, just two days ago, on the 18th of July, in a rather theatrical sequence of events, the Taliban office was inaugurated in a manner that contradicted the very principles to which I just referred,” Tanin said.
Furthermore, the public statement by the Taliban representatives in Doha not only lacked any clear commitment to peace talks with the Afghan High Peace Council - the sole body mandated to conduct peace talks - but made an explicit reference to the continuation of violence, he said.
“Again, goes against the very spirit of peace. Given the concerns that have arisen, emanating from the obvious contradictions pertaining to our peace process, the Government of Afghanistan decided firstly: that the HPC would not engage in peace talks under the circumstances the Taliban was opened; and Secondly: to suspend negotiations on the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States,” Tanin said.
“Afghanistan naturally expects its international partners to stand against any threat to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. In fact, all of Afghanistan's partnership agreements are made in light of Afghanistan's national interests, and aimed at promoting the country's peace, security and stability,” the Afghan diplomat said.
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