NATO calls for “negotiated settlement” in Afghanistan over Taliban challenge



NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg describes the security situation as “deeply difficult” with most of the foreign troops already out of the country where the insurgents continue their full-scale assault.

Afghan government forces have abandoned some rural districts without a fight, but are struggling to defend provincial capitals even as Taliban insurgents tighten the noose around the cities. (PA)

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg reiterated his calls for a “negotiated settlement” with the Taliban in Afghanistan, admitting the country faced a “deeply difficult” security situation as foreign troops left.

“The security situation in Afghanistan remains very difficult and requires a negotiated settlement. NATO will continue to support Afghanistan, including through funding, civilian presence and training abroad,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter after s’ be met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Tuesday.

Since early May, violence has escalated as the Taliban launched a massive assault just days after US-led NATO forces began a withdrawal that is now almost complete.

The deadly advance saw insurgents seize dozens of districts, border posts and surround several provincial capitals.

READ MORE: Unprecedented civilian deaths expected if Afghan violence does not end

The fighting continues

Fighting continues through the rugged countryside as peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have so far failed to reach an agreement to end the war.

Most of NATO’s 10,000 troops have already withdrawn from the country after President Joe Biden’s decision to repatriate troops from Washington after two decades.

The United Nations warned on Monday that Afghanistan could see the highest death toll among civilians in more than a decade if Taliban offensives across the country are not halted.

The United States descended on Afghanistan and its Taliban government in 2001 following the September 11 attacks by Al Qaeda, who had sought refuge in the country.

There are serious fears that the advance of the Taliban could see the collapse of the country and undo the tenuous gains made in 20 years of costly involvement in the country.

READ MORE : Afghan families flee their homes as fighting escalates in Kandahar

Pakistan returns Afghan soldiers

Also Tuesday, dozens of Afghan soldiers returned to Afghanistan after taking refuge in Pakistan, according to a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of the Pakistani armed forces.

The 46 soldiers, including five officers, returned to Afghan government authorities at the Nawa Pass border post in Bajaur district, the statement said.

Afghan soldiers had sought refuge after losing control of military positions across the border following advances by Taliban insurgents, with the Afghan military commander seeking refuge at the Chitral border post in the north, he said. Pakistani army in a statement.

They were able to pass safely on the night of Sunday, July 25 after the authorization of the Afghan authorities.

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia discuss Afghanistan

Meanwhile, the Saudi foreign minister said on Tuesday he had held talks with Pakistan on a range of issues, including Kashmir, Palestine and Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan was of course a topic of discussion and we will continue to work together to try to facilitate security and stability in our two regions and we are there, I think, determined and I hope we will continue to work together.” , said Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud.

He made his comments at a press conference in the capital Islamabad on Tuesday.

The Saudi Foreign Minister is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and is accompanied by a delegation made up of senior officials of the Saudi government.

READ MORE: Pakistan: Afghan soldiers who crossed the border after the Taliban attack have returned

Joint Russian military exercises

Also on Tuesday, Russia announced that around 1,000 of its troops would participate in joint military exercises in Tajikistan next week near the Afghan border, the Interfax news agency reported.

The exercises from August 5 to 10 take place against a backdrop of deteriorating security in Afghanistan.

The exercises will also involve Uzbek and Tajik forces. In total, more than 1,500 troops will participate, TASS said.

READ MORE: Tajikistan hosts largest military exercise ever amid advancing Afghan Taliban

Source: AFP



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