Turkey remains among the favorite countries for Afghanistan in terms of foreign policy, the country's foreign minister nominee told parliament Monday.
Explaining his foreign policy strategies to the lower house of parliament ahead of a vote of confidence, Mohammad Haneef Atmar said Afghanistan would avoid getting caught in conflicts among regional countries. He said Afghanistan seeks a balance in ties with its neighbors, particularly with countries that are at odds with each other, while Turkey remains among the favorable countries.
Although they are located nearly 3,000 kilometers apart, Afghanistan and Turkey enjoy close ties dating back to the early years of the Republic of Turkey.
Turkey was the first country to open a diplomatic mission in Kabul in 1921 and both Muslim-majority countries maintain deep cultural ties, dating back to the Turkic rule of Afghanistan up to the 12th century.
Atmar added that Kabul's top priority in foreign policy is to garner international support for ending the war and ensuring a dignified and enduring peace in the country.
"The only way to ensure peace in Afghanistan is maintaining the Islamic Republic system ... the independence, national sovereignty and national unity in the country will not be compromised under any circumstances," said Atmar.
The Lower House will vote on the fate of the foreign minister in a session later this month.
On Sept. 12, intra-Afghan peace talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban were launched in the Qatari capital, Doha. The two sides are yet to reach an agreement on the agenda of the negotiations and a conflict resolution mechanism before the formal resumption of talks.
The U.S. signed an agreement with the Taliban in February to promote a negotiated end to the 19-year-old conflict and talks between the insurgents and the U.S.-backed government began later on but have yet to yield any major breakthrough. In fact, the violence within the country still continues.
On Sunday, Afghanistan issued a list of at least 1,100 insurgents killed in ongoing clashes during the past 25 days.
According to the Interior Ministry, scores of key Taliban commanders and foreign militants have been killed by Afghan forces in this period, in response to assaults by the insurgents, particularly in the restive southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces.
The ministry's spokesman Tariq Arian told a press conference that among the insurgents killed in counterterrorism operations, at least 152 were from Pakistan.
"Seventy Taliban commanders have been killed in Helmand and Kandahar in Afghan forces' operations in the past 25 days," he said, adding that each militant commander led dozens of strong groups of fighters. The ministry did not share figures on casualties sustained by the Afghan security forces in this period.
The Taliban has yet to comment on the statement.
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