The Afghan peace process and Moscow talks: UNAMA Head of Staff calls for inclusion of local people and women.

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On March 18, 2021 Russia hosted a meeting of the Extended “Troika” on Afghanistan comprising representatives of the US, China, Russia, and Pakistan. Other representatives were welcomed to attend the meeting such as the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, prominent Afghan political figures, and representatives of the Taliban movement, as well as Qatar and Turkey as guests. The Extended Troika released a joint-statement that can be found here. The four States mostly insisted on the need to engage in discussions in order to negotiate a peace agreement and advocated for a political solution to the conflict. Such endeavour echoes the previous peace talks between the US and the Taliban movement with the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan (ABPA), signed on February 26, 2020. According to the ABPA, the US is due to withdraw its troops on May 1, 2021. The Moscow talks are also following up the Afghan peace talks in Doha (February 2021) between representatives of the Afghan government and of the Taliban movement.

Nevertheless, the results of such peace processes, on the terrain, have been disappointing, since violence has not ended and has been increasing over the years. In her briefing to the UN Security Council on March 23, 2021, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Deborah Lyons has called for the end of violence against the people of Afghanistan and has outlined the importance of addressing the grieves and lack of trust between the parties. Ms. Lyons has notably emphasized the need for more inclusion of the Afghan people in the peace discussions. Finally, she has advocated for a more active role of the UN in the peace process and has warmly welcomed the appointment of Jean Arnault as UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy on Afghanistan on March 17, 2021.

CD4Peace encourages therefore the full inclusion of local people, NGOs and CSOs in all future peace discussions and praises the support to local peacebuilding initiatives. Peacebuilding is more than political solutions and negotiations and peace must be built positively, in the spirit of the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Therefore, CD4Peace encourages the peace process in Afghanistan to be based on the respect of all human rights and centred on the people and notably towards a full and comprehensive inclusion of women and the youth.