UN`s ex-envoy in Afghanistan backs talks with Taliban

The UN`s former envoy in Afghanistan threw his weight on Thursday behind dialogue between Afghan authorities and the Taliban to reach a peaceful solution to a conflict he said neither side could win.

Oslo: The UN`s former envoy in Afghanistan
threw his weight on Thursday behind dialogue between Afghan
authorities and the Taliban to reach a peaceful solution to a
conflict he said neither side could win.
"The time has come to embrace a more fully pledged
process of dialogue with the insurgency," former United
Nations special representative Kai Eide said at a press
conference in Oslo to launch his new book on Afghanistan.

"Are the Taliban ready to move into that kind of
dialogue? In my view they are but I cannot say with
certainty," said Eide, who stepped down as top UN official to
Kabul in March following the fraud-tainted presidential vote.

"NATO cannot win the war and the Taliban cannot win
the war," he added. "So we`re in a stalemate."

The next four to five winter months, marked by less
military activity, offer "a window" for discussions, Eide
said. He suggested several measures for fostering confidence
between the two sides, including limited ceasefires.

"The only way forward is not to pose any preconditions
for sitting down, but once you sit down, then you start
discussing what your preconditions for a
solution may be," he said.
Any agreement must respect three red lines established
by the Afghan government he said; notably that the Taliban
accept the country`s constitution especially with respect to
women`s rights, that they lay down their arms and
that they sever ties to Al-Qaeda.

PTI

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