Ghani urges Taliban to accept Ramadan ceasefire offer

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has urged the Taliban to accept the demand of a Ramadan ceasefire offered by the government in an effort to fast track the peace and reconciliation process in the war-torn country.

He said that the ceasefire was on behalf of the grand council, the ‘Grand Consultative Jirga for Peace’ comprising over 3,200 delegates, adding that Ramadan is a month of peace and reconciliation.

“I once again call on the Taliban to respect this holy month and address the demand of Afghans for peace and reconciliation which was reflected at the Grand Consultative Jirga for Peace,” Ghani was quoted by TOLOnews as saying.

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“I want to assure the people that the resolution of the peace Jirga will make a big part of the peace policy of the government,” he added.

Last week, the Taliban rejected a similar ceasefire agreement proposed by Ghani and US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. The militant group said they will not stop “jihad” as it will have more “benefits” during the Ramadan month.

In response, Khalilzad had lashed out at the Taliban for rejecting his call for laying down their arms and stopping the violence as a part of efforts to move forward the ongoing peace process.

“All sides laying down arms is the outcome of any peace process. All sides agreeing to reduce violence is a necessary step toward achieving that outcome and the morally responsible choice to make. We stand ready,” he had tweeted.

Khalilzad’s remarks came after Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that Khalilzad should “forget about the idea of putting down our arms.”

“Instead of such fantasies, he should ponder upon how to “end the use of force and incurring further human and financial losses for the Kabul administration,” TOLOnews had quoted Mujahid as saying.

Last year, the Taliban had announced a surprise three-day ceasefire with the Afghan government for the duration of Eid al-Fitr, the religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.


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