The head of the High National Afghan Reconciliation Council denounced the killing of at least 39 Afghan civilians by Australian forces during an interview with the Anadolu agency.
“There is no way to define this brutality. There is no way to explain what happened. It is incomprehensible, ”said Abdullah Abdullah, Turkey’s main news provider.
“These are crimes against innocent people, and I was shocked,” Abdullah said during an official visit to Turkey on November 19 and 20.
“At the same time, the Australian government has been very clear with this – on what happened,” he said.
“There has been a thorough investigation of the cases and they have all the details.
“And there is a commitment to prosecute those who are responsible,” he said.
“But this is, unfortunately, something that shocked people as a whole because the report came with a lot of detail about the miseries of those involved in the war and also what they went through,” he said. added.
Australian authorities on Thursday released details of the investigation into killings by their special forces in Afghanistan.
Australian Defense Forces chief General Angus Campbell has asked the Afghans for an apology as he shared the gruesome details.
“To the Afghan people, on behalf of the Australian Defense Force, I sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize for any wrongdoing committed by Australian soldiers. I spoke directly to my Afghan counterpart, the general. [Yaseen] Zia, to convey this message, ”he said in a televised speech.
Senior Afghan peace negotiator in Turkey for talks
The main Afghan peace negotiator, who spoke with Turkish officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also stressed the importance of Turkey’s role in the peace process.
“Most of these discussions have focused on the peace process, the role of the region, the role of countries neighboring Afghanistan and the state of negotiations.
“Turkey has supported Afghanistan for the past 20 years. But fortunately, our relations, good relations between countries and peoples, go back in history for centuries, ”he said.
“It’s an opportunity – to know the status of Turkey and the role it can play. So it was mainly around the peace process. But also, the Istanbul process was the initiative of Turkey, which will be revitalized, ”he added.
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The crimes of the Australian troops
Regarding the crimes committed by Australian troops, Abdullah said: “I want to be careful not to generalize this because the hundreds of thousands of forces have been involved in the war in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.”
“That was not the general behavior of these forces, fortunately. But even one person treated this way should be unacceptable, ”he stressed. “And that’s what, in effect, the thorough prosecution of cases will help prevent these things from happening.”
Afghan peace process
Asked about the peace process, Abdullah said: “Progress has been slow.”
“The Afghan people expected us to deliver not only the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, but also the Taliban, who are part of the negotiations,” he said.
“I will say there is always an opportunity, the opportunity is there. In some cases, the Taliban have been much less flexible than expected because in the negotiations you have to be flexible, ”he said.
“And also, there has been a strong demand from the Afghan people for a reduction in violence or a ceasefire or a humanitarian ceasefire,” he said.
“Many countries have called for a humanitarian ceasefire, as well as the secretary general of the UN and European countries,” he said.
Under the Trump administration, an agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban paved the way for intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha between the government in Kabul and the Taliban. But no tangible progress has been made in the talks in the Qatari capital since their launch on September 12.
Asked whether Afghans believe in lasting peace at the end of the process, Abdullah said the process should continue.
“We are obliged to do everything in our power to achieve peace,” he said.
“There will be no winner by war. I repeat what I said at the Doha conference, ”he said. “There will be no losers through a comprehensive and inclusive peaceful settlement. If one side believes it can win by war, it is a serious miscalculation. “
The peace negotiator also highlighted the recent upsurge in attacks against security forces and civilians.
“Unfortunately, there has been an increase in attacks against civilians and against security forces,” he said.
Referring to an attack on Saturday, he said “eight people were martyred and more people were injured and property damaged”.
“There is no doubt that other terrorist groups like Daesh sometimes commit crimes in Afghanistan, and that they continue to commit crimes in different parts of the country and are responsible for them,” he said. , using another acronym for Daesh.
“Since the fighting, the war has mainly been between the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, other terrorist groups have also taken advantage of the situation,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of both sides to find a way to achieve peace. If the math is that “by increasing the violence they can win at the negotiating table,” that won’t happen, “he said. “Because it will only be a message to the Afghan people about the lack of engagement of the groups involved.”
“But when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, we are ready for a comprehensive ceasefire or a humanitarian ceasefire or a reduction in violence,” he said.
“ The new US administration will continue to support the peace process ”
Asked about the possible effects of President-elect Joe Biden on the peace process, Abdullah said: “The incoming US administration will also support the peace process; I have no doubt.”
“Because there is a broad understanding in the United States, a bipartisan understanding, that it is time to support the peace process and finally to have a situation where there is no need for international troops in Afghanistan. “, did he declare.
“The new administration will make efforts which will depend on them, but I am convinced that its support for the peace process will continue,” he said.
Regarding the announcement by US President Donald Trump of a reduction in the number of troops in Afghanistan, the chief negotiator said: “They have decided to withdraw some of their troops and at the same time they have decided to maintain a part of their troops.
“[A total of] 2,500 of their troops will remain in Afghanistan. They pledged to continue to support Afghan security institutions, national defense institutions, which is good, this policy will continue, ”he said.
“The NATO countries will decide in close coordination with the United States – NATO’s lead country,” he said.
“NATO troops will therefore maintain their presence [in Afghanistan], and most likely they will make a decision on this at the end of December of this year. And their commitment to supporting Afghan institutions is a long-term commitment, ”he said.
Acting US Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said earlier this week that the United States would each reduce its troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 by January 15, 2021.
“On January 15, 2021, our forces, their size in Afghanistan will be 2,500. Our strength in Iraq will also be 2,500 on the same day,” Miller said during a press briefing at the Pentagon.
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