NATO Chief Urges Intra-Afghan Talks

The NATO chief called on the Taliban to demonstrate a real willingness for peace.


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in an interview with TOLOnews on Thursday at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels, said that the only thing that can create conditions for longstanding peace in Afghanistan is that the Afghans get together and hold talks.

“The only thing that can create lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan is Afghan negotiation, intra-Afghan talks,” Stoltenberg told TOLOnews in Brussels.

Speaking to TOLOnews correspondent Mir Aqa Popal in Brussels, Stoltenberg said that NATO supports the efforts made by the United States towards reaching a peaceful deal with the Taliban, which will also pave the way for the start of intra-Afghan talks.

“We welcome the efforts by the United States to reach an agreement with the Taliban on the reduction of violence. What we have to see now is that the Taliban has the real will and is capable of delivering on a reduction of violence. Hopefully, this can then be first step towards intra-Afghan negotiations,” said Stoltenberg.

The NATO chief called on the Taliban to demonstrate a real willingness for peace.

This comes after US Defense Secretary Mark Esper at a press conference on Thursday--the second and final day of the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels--announced that the Trump administration and the Taliban had negotiated a seven-day reduction in violence proposal.

“The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence. I am here today consulting with allies about this proposal and we had a series of productive bilateral and collective meetings about the path forward,” said Esper.

When asked, Stoltenberg said there might be an extension of the 7-day reduction of violence, and that the US was consulting with NATO allies regarding such a move.

“Well, the idea is to have a period that can initiate talks and then make progress on a real, sustainable, comprehensive peace deal,” he said.

The NATO chief said that the United States has consulted very closely with all NATO allies and the Afghan government about the proposal.