The joint statement was issued hours after a two-day meeting of a senior delegation of Afghan leaders with the Taliban’s political leadership ended in Doha. A statement issued by the Taliban on Sunday made no mention of a ceasefire, indicating they won’t halt violence in the country in the months ahead.
The appeal to call a halt to hostilities was issued by Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union delegation, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Britain and the US, besides Nato’s senior civilian representative.
“We condemn the continued targeted killings taking place throughout Afghanistan, the destruction of vital infrastructure, and threats, declarations and other actions against the gains Afghans have made over the last 20 years, gains which we have strongly supported,” the statement said.
According to the signatories, the Taliban’s offensive was in direct contradiction to their claim to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict, and to the Doha peace process.
“The indiscriminate detaining and killings of civilians and assaults of prisons demonstrates an extremely concerning disregard for the rule of law. In districts occupied by the Taliban, inhabitants and observers also credibly report attempts to repress the human rights of women and girls and to shut down private and public media organisations in an attempt to conceal their human rights abuses and diminish freedom of expression,” the statement said.
“On behalf of our respective missions, we vehemently condemn these and any other actions that violate the human rights of Afghan citizens. Afghans have made numerous gains over the past 20 years and want to continue building on their achievements in development, human rights, and free speech.”
Citing the progress made over the past years, the statement said these gains could be sustained “if all parties work together”.
“We join the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in calling on the Taliban and all parties to immediately end violence, agree to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, and engage fully in peace negotiations to end the suffering of the Afghan people and pave the way to an inclusive political settlement that benefits all Afghans and ensures that Afghanistan does not again serve as a safe haven for insurgents,” it said.
Referring to the Eid-ul-Adha holidays in Afghanistan for three days commencing Tuesday, the statement urged the Taliban to lay down their weapons during the festival and “show the world their commitment to the peace process”.
The Taliban had announced a temporary ceasefire ahead of the last few Eids, saying it wanted to let Afghans spend their holidays in peace. This time, there has been no such announcement.