KABUL – The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy arrived on Tuesday on a surprise visit to Afghanistan and reaffirmed the EU’s support for the peace process.
In a TV appearance along with the Chief Executive of the Afghan government Abdullah Abdullah, Federica Mogherini said the EU supported the Afghan people’s desire for “peace, human and women rights, rule of law and development of the country.”
“The EU will be at your side in this (peace) process,” said Mogherini, in addition to offering the EU’s cooperation for the country’s general election.
Abdullah thanked her for being “a friend of Afghanistan in the position she has been working in,” and said she had played a critical role in supporting Afghanistan.
The EU high representative is set to meet President Ashraf Ghani and other Afghan leaders in the evening, deputy spokesperson to the president Samim Arif told EFE.
She said she will continue efforts to guarantee – along with international and regional partners – that “the peace process belongs to the Afghan institutions.”
“It is a pleasure to be back in Kabul at a critical moment for the country to express the full support of the EU to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” said Mogherini, whose visit comes two weeks after the conclusion of the fifth round of talks between the Taliban and the United States on ending a 17-year long conflict.
At the end of the latest meeting in Qatar on March 12, the Taliban said there had been progress on issues such as the withdrawal of foreign troops, although a concrete draft of the agreement was yet to be prepared.
Due to the ongoing negotiations – where the insurgents have refused to bring the Afghan government to the dialogue table –, the presidential elections scheduled for July have been postponed to Sept. 28 and the government has announced that it will intensify the offensive against the Taliban.
The Afghan government controls just 55 percent of the country’s area, while the Taliban have around 11 percent and the rest is contested, according to data published by the US Congress’ Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.