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Taliban ‘has no will for peace’, says Afghan President Ghani as time ticks for US troop withdrawal

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In recent weeks, Taliban* militants have captured key areas of rural Afghanistan and launched offensives against major cities amid the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has criticized the Taliban for being reluctant to reach a peace deal with the government to stop the ongoing escalation of violence in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ghani referred to Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the Afghan Supreme Council for National Reconciliation, who told the Afghan president that “there is no will for peace in [the] Taliban”.

© REUTERS / KNOW CEDENO

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks at a press conference after meeting US President Joe Biden, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, US, June 25, 2021

“We have sent the delegation to give the ultimatum and to show that we have the will for peace and that we are willing to make sacrifices for it, but they have [the Taliban] have no will for peace and we have to make decisions based on this,” Ghani said, referring to an “urgent and practical plan” he is trying to work out in an effort to resolve the current deadlock.

He lamented the fact that, despite the government’s release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in accordance with last year’s peace agreement, the militant group has so far not been ready for meaningful talks.

However, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political bureau in Doha, told CNN that the group is seeking a “peaceful solution” and wants an “Afghan inclusive Islamic government.”

Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme leader, said he is “a strong supporter” of a political statement about the conflict in Afghanistan.

The statement comes as the country celebrates the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, with the first day of the event ending with no reports of clashes between government forces and Taliban supporters, according to Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews.

© AP Photo / Sgt. Justin Updegrafff

This photo from June 10, 2017, provided by Operation Resolute Support, US soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan

The news station added that a day before the celebrations started on July 19, heavy fighting was said to have taken place in at least 20 provinces in Afghanistan.

The clashes took place as the Afghan government and the Taliban held talks in Qatar’s capital Doha, with the aim of agreeing on a ceasefire of at least three days that would allow them to celebrate Eid in peace. , but to no avail.

Afghanistan is seeing a growing spike in Taliban violence as US and NATO forces gradually withdraw from the country. The withdrawal of the troops was one of the points of agreement reached by the Taliban and the United States in Doha last February.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden announced that his country would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by August 31, updating his previous order that the exit be by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. , would have completed.


*Taliban, a terrorist group banned in Russia and some other countries

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