Germany insists Afghan government must be involved in Taliban talks | News | DW | 03.12.2019
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Germany insists Afghan government must be involved in Taliban talks

Germany's defense minister has called for Afghan politicians to play a role in peace talks with the Taliban. The militant Islamist group has refused to engage with Kabul, instead focusing on direct talks with Washington.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday that the Afghan government should not be left out of efforts to forge peace with Taliban insurgents.

"We believe that peace talks, and a peace agreement, should also include Afghan politicians and leaders," she said.

The German minister, who is also the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), made the comments alongside Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the second day of her visit to Afghanistan.

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The Taliban have refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, which they do not recognize. Instead, the Islamist group has been mediating with US officials

US President Donald Trump broke off the Taliban talks in September after an uptick in attacks and the death of a US soldier. But last week he announced the talks had resumed.

Call for release of election results

Kramp-Karrenbauer told reporters that Berlin and Kabul both wanted the same thing, namely for people in Afghanistan to live in peace and safety.

She also expressed hope that the outcome of Afghanistan's presidential election would soon be announced, adding that a strong Afghan government would be better positioned to lead peace talks. The presidential polls were held in September, but technical glitches and allegations of rigging have caused delays in the release of results.

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Ghani thanked the German minister for Germany's humanitarian and military contribution.

There are nearly 1,300 German soldiers stationed in Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led mission to secure peace and stability in the country. The current "Resolute Support" mission is due to expire at the end of March next year, but Kramp-Karrenbauer has hinted that it will be extended.

According to the UN, more than 3,800 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict last year — an 11% increase compared with 2017.

nm/ng (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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