Peace not easy to achieve in Afghanistan: Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo

Kabul: Senior Civilian Representative of NATO to Afghanistan Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo reaching peace was not easy after forty years of conflict in Afghanistan.

In an interview, he said big progress had been made towards Intra-Afghan talk negotiations. “NATO has supported ambassador Khalilzad’s efforts to get the two sides to the peace table. I think there is a certain momentum. Both sides have understood that there is no military solution to the conflict. The afghan people are asking for peace. They will not forget or forgive those who stand in the way of peace. So I think we are getting there,” he added.

Pontecorvo said violence was unacceptable, noting that the government’s concerns about not releasing the remaining Taliban prisoners were legitimate.

He said the attacks on Afghan civilians are absolutely unacceptable. “The casualties are unacceptable. They have to demonstrate that they will be good and trustworthy as the partners for peace. On the government’s side, I think they are doing what they can,” he said.

The Ambassador said the team has to be united, and “for unity, you need unity in the leadership. I think that the recent political agreement has gone a long way. That agreement now needs to be implemented. It is in the final stage of implementation. Now we expect that the Afghan government response to the request of the Afghan people which is unanimously for peace. And to get to that peace, you have to get to the table.”

He said there was a consensus, regionally and internationally that the ultimate goal of peace in Afghanistan is supported by everybody.

He said NATO doesn’t want to stay in Afghanistan forever, but “we are committed to assisting for as long as we need to be here, and that will be decided by the Afghan government.”