EU official backs key role for Kabul in talks with Taliban

March 26, 2019
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European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, left and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani shake hands after a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. The European Union official says the EU strongly supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in which all past achievements of the country would be preserved. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The European Union’s top diplomat has expressed support for U.S.-led efforts to resolve Afghanistan’s 17-year war but stressed that the Afghan government should have a leading role in the process.

The remarks by EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reflect the bloc’s displeasure that the peace talks with the Taliban have so far sidelined the government in Kabul. The Taliban have refused to talk directly with the government, considering it a U.S. puppet.

Mogherini says the EU has “always been on the side of Afghan people with no other agenda” than peace, security and prosperity for Afghanistan.

She says that EU supports “an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.”

Mogherini spoke after meetings in Kabul on Tuesday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the country’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah.