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September 27, 2018
The Kabul Times
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Taliban could join peace talks, despite rejection: President Ghani

KABUL: President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has dismissed the Taliban’s rejection of his offer of peace talks, suggesting that the militant group can still be persuaded to come to the negotiating table.
In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan in Kabul on July 16, President Ghani said the Taliban’s opposition to peace talks was not “a full rejection.”
“Afghan clerics don’t want an intensification of the conflict, they want peace – they want real peace. Therefore, if a small group of the Taliban think that they still have a shred of religious credibility, [they’re wrong]. It has ended.”
“The cease-fire demonstrated that they want to be on the same side of their countrymen,” President Ghani added.
The president also reiterated his calls for Pakistan and other neighboring countries to work together to eliminate terrorism and create regional stability.
“Our stance is that if the Taliban are independent, they should make decisions independently, but it’s necessary that Pakistan help,” President Ghani told RFE/RL’s Radio.
The unilateral government truce lasted from June 12-30. The Taliban adhered to its own June 15-17 cease-fire that prompted jubilant scenes of unarmed Taliban fighters congregating in government-held cities and posing for photos with residents and government officials.
Meanwhile on July 11, a summit of religious scholars organized by the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation called for a new cease-fire in Afghanistan.
The Kabul Times

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