The United Nations' envoy for Afghanistan said the country’s problems cannot be solved through military means and he urged Taliban militants to enter peace talks.
The March 10 comments by Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s special representative for Afghanistan, as Taliban fighters have seized new ground in some parts of the country, and imperiled the weak central government in Kabul.
Аmid the uptick in fighting, U.S. commanders have sent an increasing number of special forces troops to assist Afghan forces. General Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee March 9 that he was considering asking for more U.S. troops.
Speaking as part of a quarterly briefing to the Security Council, Yamamato said "all relevant actors" must work to stop the violence.
"The government, neighboring countries and other key powers should reinforce the message that the Taliban can be a part of Afghanistan’s future, and its political and social fabric,” he said.
“It must be acknowledged that a prolonged conflict will only lead to further misery for the Afghan people and undermine the very foundation for economic growth and development,” he said.
The future of Afghanistan must be developed “through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process for all Afghans,” he added.
Yamamoto said the deteriorating security situation was impairing economic progress and causing social upheaval. In 2016, 650,000 Afghans were displaced by violence, the highest-level ever.
He said there has been a downward trend in “key indicators,” such as access to health clinics and educational facilities.
U.S.-led forces have been battling Taliban since driving them and their Al-Qaeda allies out of power following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States.
U.S. troop levels peaked at around 100,000 but have fallen to about 8,400 since most NATO forces withdrew in 2014.