Washington DC [US], May 8 (ANI): The United States, NATO, and European Union on Friday (local time) issued a joint statement that strongly condemned the continued violence in Afghanistan and demanded all parties to take immediate steps for its reduction, and especially to avoid civilian casualties.
"Strongly condemned the continued violence in Afghanistan for which the Taliban are largely responsible and demanded all parties to take immediate and necessary steps to reduce violence and in particular, to avoid civilian casualties in order to create an environment conducive to reaching a political settlement," US State Department statement read.
This joint communique comes after Special Envoys and Special Representatives of the United States of America, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, NATO, Norway, and the United Kingdom met in Berlin on May 6.
Taliban threats have come as the US has begun drawdown of its troops in Afghanistan and violence has escalated in the country.
In this regard, the participants called upon the Taliban to stop their undeclared spring offensive, to refrain from attacks against civilians, and to stop immediately all attacks in the vicinity of hospitals, schools, universities, mosques and other civilian areas, the statement said.
They also demanded an immediate end to the campaign of targeted assassinations against civil society leaders, the clergy, journalists and other media workers, human rights defenders, healthcare personnel, judicial employees and other civilians.
The countries highlighted the need to accelerate the pace of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace negotiations and committed to work with the Afghan government, the Taliban, and other Afghan political and civil society leaders to reach a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement.
Recently, the Taliban have launched a new wave of offensive in several Afghan cities and are resorting to bombings and heavy weapons after the United States missed May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. (ANI)