Yesterday, 28 July, was the first day of official campaigning for the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan. Several political rallies took place, testifying to the liveliness of the democratic process in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the day was darkened by an attack against the headquarters of vice-presidential candidate Amrullah Saleh, in which at least 20 people lost their life.
This is a direct attack against democracy, which causes suffering and goes against the letter and the spirit of the resolution of the intra-Afghan dialogue held in Doha on 7-8 July, where Afghan representatives, including of the Taliban, agreed on the need to avoid civilian targets and to reduce the number of civilian casualties to zero.
The European Union stands by the vast majority of Afghans who are looking forward to free and fair elections and to debate freely on the issues affecting their country. The killings of civilians must stop once and for all. It is time for a ceasefire and for negotiations aiming at achieving the peace the people of Afghanistan deserve and have long demanded.