Terrorism must end in Afghanistan for peace process to work, says Gargash

Two attacks in Afghanistan last week killed at least 56 people

FILE PHOTO: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash, speaks at an event at Chatham House in London, Britain July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo
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A political peace process in Afghanistan will not work unless terrorism is curbed in the country, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said on Sunday.

His comments on Twitter came days after three gunmen disguised as police killed 24 people, including two babies, at a Kabul maternity ward, and a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan that killed 32 people.

The violence, although not claimed by the Taliban, threatens to upend a burgeoning peace process between the group, the US and the Afghan government.

"Resurging, abhorrent violence targeting the helpless in Afghanistan must be strongly opposed," Dr Gargash said on Sunday.

"Not acceptable to speak of peace while continuing to kill innocent civilians; a political process cannot succeed until there is an end to the terror engulfing the country."

The key provisions of the February 29 agreement – to which the Afghan government was not a party – involved a US commitment to reduce its military footprint in Afghanistan to 8,600 by mid-July and, conditions permitting, to zero by May 2021.

In return, the Taliban promised, among other things, not to allow "its members, other individuals or groups, including Al Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies".

But planned talks between the Taliban and Kabul government never began, and President Ashraf Ghani announced after this week's violence that he was resuming offensive operations against the insurgents.

The United States said it believes the attack in a Shiite neighbourhood was carried out not by the Taliban but by ISIS.