The US Secretary State of John Kerry has said the Taliban militants group in Afghanistan can not and will not be able to win the conflict on the battlefield.
Kerry delivered the message during his speech at an international conference on Afghanistan and the following the conclusion of a peace deal between Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Afghan government.
He said the peace deal with Hekmatyar could be a model for reconciliation with the Taliban, insisting that the commanders of Hekmatyar must cease violence, cut ties with terrorist groups and accept the Afghan constitutions’s rights for women and minorities.
“The message from every person here today to the Taliban would be: Take note,” Kerry said, adding that the Taliban is still “trying to test the Afghan government’s resolve.”
Kerry further added that “There is a path toward an honorable end to the conflict that the Taliban have waged.” However, he insisted that “It is a conflict they cannot and will not be won on the battlefield. A political settlement negotiated with the Afghan government is the only way to end the fighting, ensure lasting stability and achieve a full drawdown ultimately of international military forces, which is their goal.”
The draft peace agreement between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami was formally signed during a special ceremony organized in ARG Presidential Palace late last month.