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UN endorses a US-Taliban peace treaty

By HONG XIAO at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-03-12 02:20
An official inspects unexploded car and explosive devices which were seized from Taliban insurgents in Jalalabad, Afghanistan December 10, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday endorsing the agreement between the United States and the Taliban aimed at ending the long war in Afghanistan.

All 15 council members approved the resolution sponsored by the US, backing the historic peace agreement.

The agreement was jointly signed in Qatar's capital Doha on Feb 29, and includes a Taliban reduction of violence and withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

According to a joint statement released by the US and Afghan governments ahead of the signing, the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will completely withdraw their troops from Afghanistan in 14 months if the Taliban abides its commitments, Xinhua News reported.

The statement also said that the US is going to reduce its troop levels to 8,600 in Afghanistan within 135 days after the signing of the agreement. 

According to UN News, the agreement appeals to the "fundamentalists to sever ties with international terrorist groups and to prevent them from using Afghanistan to carry out attacks against the US".

The Taliban also would participate in an intra-Afghan dialogue. The negotiations, which were scheduled to begin on Tuesday, were postponed due to renewed violence and political discord at the highest levels of government. 

The historic deal is considered the first step toward toward ending the 18-year-war in the nation.

"The developments endorsed by this resolution are the product of more than a year of unprecedented US diplomatic engagement with the Taliban, in coordination with our partners in Afghanistan, the region, and around the world," said Cherith Norman Chalet, acting deputy permanent representative of the US to the UN.

Chalet said in her Explanation of Vote that the Afghanistan of today is not the Afghanistan of 2001, and that is because of the "sincere efforts" of Afghans working hand-in-hand with their friends in the international community.

"This is a hopeful moment, but it is only the beginning," she said.

"The United States is conscious of the long-held desire of the Afghan people for peace," she said, adding the US will continue to support the goal of a lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Zhang Jun, permanent representative of China to the UN and president of the Security Council this month, chaired the vote.

Zhang stated China's position and emphasized that the Afghan situation is at a critical juncture.

"China welcomes the US-Afghan joint declaration and the signed agreement between the United States and the Taliban. The Afghan parties and the United States should work together to actively implement the agreement," Zhang said.

During its implementation, Zhang emphasized that efforts must be made to ensure that the foreign troops in Afghanistan are withdrawn in an orderly and responsible manner and that the situation in Afghanistan transitions smoothly to avoid a security vacuum, and in particular, "to prevent the rise of terrorist organizations by taking advantage of the situation in Afghanistan", he said.

"To this end, the capacity building of the Afghan National Security Forces should continue to be supported," he added.

Zhang called for all parties in Afghanistan to expeditiously start the intra-Afghan negotiations to discuss the country's political and security arrangements acceptable to all parties, to work in unison for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

"It is hoped that the international community will respect the will of the Afghan people, continue to support reconciliation among them and help Afghanistan achieve peace at an early date," Zhang appealed.

Zhang said that the international community should continue its efforts to lay a solid foundation for lasting peace in Afghanistan.

It should focus on "the process of peaceful reconstruction in Afghanistan, increase investment in infrastructure construction, promote regional connectivity, pay attention to the crucial role of regional countries and organizations, and inject momentum into Afghanistan's sustained development", he said.

"China is ready to work with the international community and continue its contribution to peace, stability and development in Afghanistan," Zhang said.

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