Ceasefire is precondition to peace, says Afghan government spokesperson

As fresh round of the US-Taliban peace talks resumes in Doha, Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesperson for the incumbent president Ashraf Ghani, says that ceasefire is precondition to sustainable peace in the country.  Speaking at a press conference today, Saturday, January 18, Mr. Sediqqi said the Afghan government would protect the interest of the Afghan people in peace talks.  

In the fresh round of talks in Qatar, the Taliban have agreed to reduce violence for a 10-day period, according to reports.

According to Mr. Sediqqi, talks are underway between US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban negotiators, but there has been no progress made until now.

“The president and the people of Afghanistan have always insisted on a ceasefire,” Sediqqi said, noting that ending the war and bringing peace are top priorities for the Afghan government and nation.

Ceasefire is part of the intra-Afghan dialogue and President Ghani during his meeting with President Trump at Bagram airbase, late November of last year, had agreed on ceasefire as precondition to peace talks, he said.

The Afghan government has repeatedly said that reduction of violence does not serve the interest of peace talks, instead it has said that ceasefire is a must to bring peace in the country.  “If they [the Taliban] are interested in peace, they should accept ceasefire,” Mr. Sediqqi reiterated.

The Taliban leaders have refused to accept ceasefire and open direct talks with the Afghan government. In the new round of talks, they are expected to signal whether the group is going to agree with demands repeatedly raised by the Afghan government or no.         

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