KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday that his government was ready for reconciliation with the Taliban and that a cease-fire was essential for real peace in Afghanistan.
“In order to reach real peace, a cease-fire must happen and bloodshed must stop,” Ghani said in a televised address marking International Day of Peace. “If the Taliban agree to peace, we do not want continuation of the war even for a single moment,” he said.
Ghani, who is standing for re-election in the presidential polls next week, said that peace has turned from a distant dream to a close reality.
“If the Taliban agree to peace, we do not want continuation of the war even for a single moment.”
Ashraf Ghani, Afghan president
He added the best solution for the current crisis was political participation and supporting the upcoming election. His comments follow a statement by US President Donald Trump two weeks ago, when he abruptly canceled talks with the Taliban following an attack in which one US soldier and 10 civilians died in Kabul. The cancelation of the talks came as both the US and the Taliban were close to inking an agreement after nearly a year of discussions in Qatar, which excluded Ghani’s government.
Trump said on Saturday that he called off the meeting at Camp David because the group couldn’t agree to a cease-fire. The Taliban has repeatedly spoken about the desire for the resumption of talks with Washington, but reiterated their threat to derail the elections. Ghani’s government said its focus for now was the election, but added that the peace process would be its top priority after the vote.
“We are committed to peace,” Ghani’s chief spokesman, Sediq Seddiqi, told Arab News. “In terms of policy it is still a top priority for President Ghani.”