Taliban violence pose 'serious challenges' to Afghan peace process: Ghani

Taliban violence pose ‘serious challenges’ to Afghan peace process: Ghani

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Kabul: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani warned on Monday that the Taliban violence is threatening the country’s peace process, and he briefed the international community on the preparations for Kabul and radical organizations for peace talks.

The Afghan authorities and the Taliban are preparing for negotiations to end the war in this poor country in the past two years.

However, following the Taliban’s surprising proposal for a ceasefire in May, violence has briefly decreased, but violence has soared again, and officials have accused the rebels of killing hundreds of security personnel and civilians in recent weeks.

Ghani hosted the first of three online meetings on Monday with the purpose of introducing the expected peace negotiations to the international community.

“If the Taliban continue fighting, the Afghan peace process will face serious challenges,” he told online attendees from several nations.

“Unfortunately, the current level of violence is higher compared to last year,” Ghani said, according to a statement issued by his office.

Ghani will hold two other video conferences later this week.

Officials said that some international organizations such as the United States and Russia and the United Nations are participating in the video conference.

Other participating countries include Pakistan, India, Iran, China, Egypt and Qatar.

Earlier on Monday, hours before the first online meeting, a spokesman for Ghani also attacked the Taliban’s outbreak of violence.

“There is no obstacle on our side for the peace process, but we see that the Taliban are not serious,” Sediq Sediqqi told reporters.

“The government of Afghanistan released a large number of Taliban in order to reduce violence in the country, but the violence has not decreased.”

Afghan authorities have released more than 4,000 Taliban prisoners out of 5,000 demanded by the insurgents in a deal with Washington signed in February.

That deal paves the way for withdrawing of all foreign forces from Afghanistan by the middle of next year.

The Taliban have denied responsibility for many attacks, but acknowledge their fighters were targeting Afghan security forces in rural areas.

The date for direct peace talks between the Taliban and government is still not fixed.

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