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Long way to go for peace in Afghanistan, says UK

On Saturday, Taliban insurgents stormed Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, leaving at least six people dead.

world Updated: Jan 21, 2018 18:24 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
An Afghan security official stands guard as black smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on January 21, 2018.(AP)

The people of trouble-torn Afghanistan deserve peace, but there is “still a long way to go” before the country’s government and people achieve the goal of building a more stable and prosperous nation, Britain’s minister for Asia Mark Field has said.

On Saturday, gunmen stormed Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, leaving at least six people dead. The attack, claimed by the Taliban, ended after a 17-hour battle.

Field said in a statement to the UN security council: “(There) is still a long way to go before Afghanistan’s government and people achieve their goal of building a more stable and prosperous country.

“(Ultimately)…the solution to long-term peace and stability lies not within the military, but in a peace process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned…Afghanistan continues to face a number of significant challenges in 2018, but this is also a year of real opportunity.”

Mentioning the forthcoming meeting of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation, Field said it took vision, courage and leadership to begin a conversation with an adversary after years of violence and bloodshed.

“However, the time is now surely ripe for that conversation. The people of Afghanistan deserve peace. So we urge President (Ashraf) Ghani and the government to use the meeting to reach out to the insurgents and to try to launch a credible peace process.”

The United Kingdom, Field said, will continue to support the peace process. He also said London has committed up to £750 million for four years up to 2020 to help support the Afghan government’s work to improve security, to reduce poverty, and to increase broad access to health and education.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 18:24 IST