US Secretary of State John Kerry today urged Afghanistan’s Taliban militants to follow the recent example of a notorious warlord and make an “honourable” peace with the Kabul government.
“There is a path toward an honourable end to the conflict that the Taliban have waged — it is a conflict that cannot be won on the battlefield,” Kerry told an international donor conference in Brussels.
Kerry said a peace deal signed last month by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who heads the Hezb-i-Islami group and was a key figure in Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s, was a “model for what might be possible.”
“The message for the Taliban would be: take note,” he said.
Kerry added that a peace deal would in fact achieve the Taliban’s aim of expelling foreign forces from Afghanistan, 15 years after a US-led invasion drove the Islamist group from power.
“A political settlement negotiated with the Afghan government is the only way to end the fighting, ensure lasting stability, and achieve a full drawdown of international military forces, which is their goal,” he said.
“Their goal of ridding Afghanistan of external forces will not come by the continued insurgency, it will come by peace.”