UN envoy calls for dialogue with Taliban in Afghanistan

BERLIN (AFP) – The UN envoy in Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, urged talks with all the forces in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, to stanch the bloodshed in the country, in an interview published Friday. The UN envoy in Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, urged talks with all the forces in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, to stanch the bloodshed in the country.(AFP/File/Jacques Collet)

“If there is to be a chance for peace, we must talk to everyone, including alleged war criminals. The aim is to stabilise Afghanistan,” Koenigs told the German daily Berliner Zeitung.

He said this included the Taliban, which he described as “a movement that includes terrorists and uses terrorist methods but that also has a political foundation.”

Koenigs said the hardline Islamist movement also comprised “young fighters who often just need money” and “people who feel discriminated against by corrupt or partisan government officials” as well as drug dealers and Muslim fundamentalists.

“The idea that you have to kill all of them to win the conflict is nonsense,” he said.

“Of course there have to be talks with various groups. The answer to the conflict cannot only be based on the military or development policy but must be comprehensively political.”

He said the United Nations was trying to integrate all the conflicting parties with a negotiated truce.

“In the end, reconciliation has to come from the Afghans themselves,” he said.

Kurt Beck, the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats, half of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling left-right coalition, recently called for dialogue with “moderate Taliban” with the aim of ending the bloody unrest in Afghanistan.

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta swiftly rejected the proposal, saying there were no moderate Taliban.NATO-led forces are battling the strongest Taliban insurgency since the hardline Islamist movement was toppled for harbouring Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in December 2001

-led forces are battling the strongest Taliban insurgency since the hardline Islamist movement was toppled for harbouring Al-Qaeda chief in December 2001

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