The international community must maintain dialogue with the Taliban to protect the improvements made in Afghanistan over two decades of NATO deployment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.
“Our goal should be to preserve as much as possible what we have achieved in terms of change in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. This is something the international community needs to talk about with the Taliban,” Merkel said in a speech to parliament. .
Progress made over the years includes access to basic necessities – 70 percent of Afghans now have access to drinking water, up from 20 percent a decade ago. And nine in ten people have an electricity supply, compared to just two in ten in 2011.
The fact that the Taliban are back in power is “bitter, but we have to deal with it,” Merkel said.
“Many things in history take a long time. That is why we must not and will not forget Afghanistan,” she said.
“Because even if it doesn’t look like it in this bitter hour, I remain convinced that no power or ideology can resist the urge for justice and peace,” said Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany but the regime in 1989.
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