Ghani To Taliban: We Have Removed Hurdles, So Accept Ceasefire And Start Talks

President Ashraf Ghani called on the Taliban to accept a permanent ceasefire and to start the intra-Afghan talks as soon as possible since the Afghan government had removed all the hurdles.

On Thursday, Ghani addressed the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces on the 101st Independence Day, as they staged a military exercise at the Kabul Military Training Centre, in the presence of high-ranking government officials.

At the beginning of the exercise, Ghani addressed the forces in a video message, telling them that the government had met all conditions for peace.

“We have met all conditions for a peace with dignity. We have prepared all the conditions for the start of the intra-Afghan talks and we have shown our will and commitment,” he said, referring to the release of the final 400 Taliban prisoners.

“We have repeatedly called on the Taliban to reduce violence, accept a ceasefire and start intra-Afghan talks with the government,” he said.

Ghani said the government was working to establish a peace under which people can work to build and develop their country and no longer depend on foreigners.

“We are seeking peace in which the youth would be busy building the country, not be tool of others.”

He stressed that celebrating Afghanistan’s independence is important to make it clear to “terrorists and enemies” that the Afghan people have responded to foreign aggression every time and are unwilling to live in the shadow of colonialism.

He repeated his call to the Taliban to reduce violence and sit for direct talks, which the Taliban had previously said would only be possible once all the prisoners would be released.

The militant group had also said last month that they were fighting because there was no other solution or method to achieve what they wanted, and thus a ceasefire was not be possible till the talks began.

The talks, which were supposed to begin in Qatar this week, have not taken place yet and been postponed to a yet unannounced date.

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