European Union officials called Sunday for a cease-fire in Afghanistan, saying the breakdown in talks between the US and the Taliban presented an opportunity to push anew for a truce.
US President Donald Trump last month declared talks with the insurgents “dead,” citing a Taliban attack that killed a US soldier.
Negotiations had been in the final stages for a deal that would have seen the US pull troops from Afghanistan after 18 years in return for various Taliban guarantees.
But to the dismay of many Afghans and international observers, the deal included no immediate, comprehensive cease-fire, rather it would supposedly have paved the way for a reduction in violence and later talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
Roland Kobia, the EU ambassador to Afghanistan, said the talks’ collapse provided a chance to push for a cease-fire which would, in turn, prove a large enough change in Afghanistan for Trump to consider resuming negotiations.
“It’s the right moment and the right opportunity to maybe go one step beyond a simple reduction in violence and explore ways in which a cease-fire … will take place,” Kobia told Kabul journalists.
“The idea is really to see how we can move the cease-fire idea forward instead of leaving it for later. … There is an opportunity here today.”
When asked how the EU, which has only a limited footprint in Afghanistan, could leverage a cease-fire, Kobia suggested that the Taliban might return to power in “one form or another” within months so would entertain a truce to help normalize future relations with the European bloc.