News Comment by UNHCR Director for Asia and the Pacific on the Afghan peace talks

This news comment is attributable Indrika Ratwatte, Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the announcement of a preliminary deal between the Afghan Government and the Taliban today to progress peace talks through agreed common procedures. This first critical step towards a lasting ceasefire carries with it the hopes of millions of displaced Afghans.

After more than forty years of exile, some 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees remain in neighbouring Pakistan, along with more than 950,000 in Iran and a large diaspora beyond the sub-region. The future of Afghanistan and the stability of the wider region will depend upon intensive international support for their voluntary and sustainable reintegration when the time is right.

Long-term peace will only be cemented through robust investment in the human capital of the Afghan people and the communities that continue to host them today.

UNHCR stands ready to further support the Government of Afghanistan at this critical juncture for peace and development, and, together with partners, to work towards a safe and prosperous future for all.