Ghani invites Taliban to Kandahar to discuss peace

Kabul, Dec 18 : Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has invited the Taliban to Kandahar province to engage in a discussion for bringing peace to the war-torn country, the media reported.

Addressing an event held in the province on Thursday, the President said that if the Taliban is willing to bring peace, they can come to Kandahar to hold talks with the negotiating team of Afghanistan government, TOLO News reported.

Ghani said that the Afghan people will not allow a further release of Taliban prisoners, as the group has not reduced violence.

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“Now that they (Taliban) ask for the release of another 2,000 (prisoners), will you (people) allow their release? No. We saw that the bloodshed did not stop. They must stop the bloodshed so we can talk,” the President said.

Referring to the recent attacks by the Taliban in various parts of Kandahar, Ghani pledged that the Afghan security forces will restore security for the people in the province.

According to the Afghan leader, the militant group last year destroyed 16 per cent of the nation’s wealth in the ongoing war.

The President’s remarks came a day after Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council of National Reconciliation, said that a debate to decide the location of the next round of the peace talks should not delay the vital negotiations, reports TOLO News.

The Kabul team returned from Doha, where the peace talks took place since September 12, on Tuesday.

The Taliban has opposed Ghani’s call to hold the next round of the peace negotiations in Afghanistan, saying the request signals fear on the country’s side.

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told TOLO News that “spoilers of the peace process”, by making such a demand, see their power and personal interest in danger.

The peace negotiations witnessed a breakthrough earlier this month after the two sides agreed on procedural rules for the talks.

The two sides also confirmed to have exchanged their lists about the agenda of the peace talks and that the next phase of the discussions will begin on January 5, 2021.

According to TOLO News, in its draft of demands, the Afghan government’s team has added ceasefire, preservation of national sovereignty, media freedom and the prohibition of activity by foreign fighters in the war-torn country.

Meanwhile, the Taliban’s demands include an Islamic government structure, establishment of an Islamic council, and ensuring women’s rights and the rights of all citizens based on Islamic principles.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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