The US and NATO top commander in Afghanistan on Sunday said the international community would never accept the return of Taliban to rule, saying the only way with the rebels was to join the peace process.
Gen. John Campbell was speaking at the first meeting of the joint commission of Afghanistan, US and NATO on implementation of security programs in Kabul. He said Afghanistan would not have the current military force if Kabul had not signed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with NATO. He said the two agreements were not only important to the international community, but to Afghanistan as well. The two agreements helped Afghanistan enjoy continued support from the international community, he added. Calling Taliban as Afghanistan’s enemy, the US general said that the Haqqani network, part of the Taliban, were killing Afghan civilians and did not want development, education, women’s rights and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Campbell stressed operations by the Resolute Support (RS) mission against the Taliban and said the RS would continue supporting Afghan forces to make them stronger. He said the international community was committed to supporting Afghanistan under agreements signed with Kabul. He said the Taliban would be never allowed to lead Afghanistan, but they only could join the peace process. “The Taliban should not damage the achievements made in Afghanistan, they should accept the Constitution, women’s rights and lay down their weapons and join the peace process,” he said. Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanikzai told the meeting that the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan was a meaningless excuse the Taliban used to unleash violence on the people of Afghanistan. Despite 85 percent withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the war was intensified in the country rather than reduced, he said. “If we want to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, we should divert the military support fund to education and development of our country because the BSA is flexible and changeable,” he said.