The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution to welcome the recent progress in the peace process in Afghanistan.
Resolution 2513, which won the unanimous support of the 15-member council, welcomed the significant steps toward ending the war and opening the door to intra-Afghan negotiations enabled by two accords signed between the US and the Taliban and between the US and the Afghan government. Xinhua news reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, the resolution welcomed the intention of all Afghan parties to pursue the successful negotiation of an inclusive political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire.
It emphasizes the importance of the effective and meaningful participation of women, youth, and minorities, and affirms that any political settlement must protect the rights of all Afghans and respect the strong desire of Afghans to achieve durable peace and prosperity.
The resolution urges the Afghan government to advance the peace process, including by participating in intra-Afghan negotiations through a diverse and inclusive negotiating team composed of Afghan political and civil society leaders, including women.
Earlier on Monday, the US military has begun withdrawing soldiers from Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon official.
The US has committed to reducing its troop level from more than 12,000 at the moment to 8,600 within 135 days of the agreement, said Colonel Sonny Leggett, spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan.
The Taliban have agreed to sever ties with al-Qaida and other international terror groups like ISIS-K and sit down for peace talks with other Afghans, including a government they have always denounced as a US puppet. In return, Washington will start withdrawing its troops in a phased manner.
The sticking point of disagreement between the Taliban and Afghan government stems from different clauses in the peace deal and the Kabul declaration.
The US-Taliban deal committed to the release of prisoners while the Kabul document only required both sides to determine ‘the feasibility of releasing’ captives. Hence, the agreement broke within days of Ashraf Ghani refusing to release prisoners.
The Taliban announced the resumption of hostilities against the Afghan government and within a span of two days launched 33 attacks in 16 provinces leading to 20 dead with the US resorting to ‘defensive’ airstrikes on the Taliban to protect Afghan soldiers. The US defended the Afghan government. The US forces spokesperson tweeted, “Afghans and US have complied with our agreements however the Taliban appears intent on squandering this opportunity and ignoring the will of the people for peace.”
Troop levels will be cut to 8,600 over the next 135 days and five bases will be closed. If both sides keep to their commitments, all US military forces could leave Afghanistan by spring 2021, although Washington is thought to want to keep intelligence operatives on the ground fighting Isis and al-Qaida.
(With inputs from agency)