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Negotiations alone can bring peace to Afghanistan: US

Negotiations alone can bring peace to Afghanistan: US

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Jul 26, 2017 - 08:29

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believes that only talks can bring lasting peace in Afghanistaninfo-icon, even as he acknowledges that military option has key role to play in it, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

“One of the things that the Secretary (of State, Rex Tillerson) feels very strongly about is trying to get to a place where we can have some sort of a peace process.  That means actually sitting down and talking with members of the Talibaninfo-icon and starting to facilitate that kind of dialogue,” the State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters at her daily news conference.

“Ultimately, like in many situations in many other countries, military options or our military strategy is not necessarily going to win those countries and put peace back together.  It’s part of it.  It’s part of it.  But in the long run, you have to bring both sides to the table or multiple sides to the table together to determine their future,” she said in response to a question on Afghanistan.

But this does not mean discounting the military option, she said. “Of course, the military option is a piece of it.  But the Secretary of State is not going to advocate or is not going to work Mr. McMaster’s behalf or on General Mattis’s behalf.  That is their piece of it to decide at the Department of Defense and as the National Security Advisor.  Our piece of it to work on is more from the diplomacy standpoint and humanitarian assistance,” she said.

Referring to the recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Nauert said that the Taliban has become more dangerous and more deadly and has been involved in the kinds of attacks that perhaps previously they have not been involved with. “That remains a major concern of ours,” she said.

Nauert said that it is premature to say that the State Department is optimistic about peace process with the Taliban. “But when we can get to the point where we might be able to help facilitate along with Afghanistan to get people to sit down and talk together, then that would certainly be a step in the right direction.  Until then, we will continue to support our Afghan partners,” she said.

The State Department spokesperson refuted reports that the Trump Administration has closed down the Office of the Special Representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistaninfo-icon. “I know people are obsessed with, “Are you shutting down this bureau?  Are you shutting down that bureau?  Are you shutting down the global office of whatever, whatever?”  All of those functions will still remain here at the State Department.  That is not changing,” she said. 

“A different person may handle it.  In some instances, it may get combined with an existing bureau.  That doesn’t mean that the priority goes away and that doesn’t mean that the functions of that job or its duties will go away.  I want to be very clear about that.  There’s been a lot of reporting on that.  Those functions will still remain here at the State Department,” Nauert said.

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