Afghan president backs peace talks with Taliban

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KABUL, Jul 17: Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani says negotiations with Taliban could help “end the bloodshed” in the war-wracked country.
Speaking at the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul, on Friday, Ghani referred to peace talks with the Taliban as a priority for his administration.
The Afghan president also thanked Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar for his support for the peace talks, saying it is important that the Taliban “want to join the political process.”
On Wednesday, the Taliban leader said in a statement that, “If we look into our religious regulations, we can find that meetings and even peaceful interactions with the enemies is not prohibited.”
He said that all Taliban members “should be confident that in this process, I will unwaveringly defend our legal rights and viewpoint everywhere.”
Earlier this month, neighboring Pakistan hosted official negotiations between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The two sides agreed to continue the peace talks – which are aimed at terminating Taliban’s 13-year militancy – after the holy month of Ramadan on July 17 or 18.
The Afghan government and the Taliban had earlier held talks in Qatar and Norway. The efforts, however, turned out to be fruitless.
Afghanistan has been the scene of violence since 2001, when the US and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues in the war-torn country despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops

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