To support peace in Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Russia, and the USA were among the 9 nations that participated in a virtual discussion convened by the UN(United Nations) Secretariat on regional efforts.
UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, “The discussions on Thursday focused on a comprehensive peace process in Afghanistan through intra-Afghan negotiations and on the importance of regional cooperation in support to Afghanistan”.
He said, “The United Nations Secretariat convened a discussion with Member States on regional efforts to support peace in Afghanistan. Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the United States, and Uzbekistan all participated in this meeting, which was held virtually.”
Dujarric said the format brought together Afghanistan, its 6 neighboring countries, Russia and the USA “in recognition of the importance of the region to Afghanistan’s stability and sustainable development“.
He said participants at the meeting expressed unity with Afghanistan in its quest for peace, security, and prosperity and echoed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s call for a comprehensive cease-fire, especially in the wake of the urgent need to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Dujarric said, “The United Nations stands ready to deliver life-saving assistance to people in need and is committed to the peaceful development of Afghanistan.”
Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban hit a roadblock earlier this month after the warring parties failed to finalize the terms of a prisoner swap, agreed to by the militants with the USA in February.
The USA-Taliban deal did not involve the Afghanistan government.
Ashraf Ghani, the Afghanistan President, has refused to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners under the terms of the peace deal, saying that his government had made no such agreement. In lieu, Ghani offered the conditional release of 1,500 prisoners.
In Doha, Taliban leaders met with USA negotiators last week and agreed to free 20 Afghan administration officials.
As the Afghan govt released a total of 200 Taliban prisoners earlier this month, the militant group walked away from the exchange process, saying its demand on who was to be released 1st was not met.
The peace deal aims at ending 18 years of war in Afghanistan.
5,000 USA troops would leave the country by May as per the agreement. The USA and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) troops will withdraw from the country within 14 months, as long as the Taliban uphold their side of the deal.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 North American and European countries.
The USA also agreed to lift sanctions against the Taliban and work with the UN to lift its separate sanctions against the group. In return, the Taliban said they would not allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.