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UN chief Antonio Guterres rejects US strategy in Afghanistan

Only a negotiated settlement could bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan and the region, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said.

“There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan,” the UN chief said in his quarterly report submitted to the UN Security Council scheduled to meet on Thursday.

He said Afghanistan continued to face manifold political, electoral, security and economic challenges, which required a unified vision and intensified efforts to reach a political settlement.

The UN chief encouraged the High Peace Councilto reach out to all sectors and levels of society to help build a national consensus on peace.

The UN chief also called upon any Member State with influence on the Taliban to exercise such leverage in the service of a lasting peace.

About the upcoming elections in Afghanistan, Antonio Guterres said the slow pace of electoral preparations has put pressure on the timetable for holding parliamentary and district council elections in 2018.

He said concrete steps had been taken towards the development of an improved voter registry and the compilation of polling centre-based voter lists.

But delays in key decisions had raised concerns among the public about the capacity of the electoral commissions to ensure timely elections, he added.

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