Afghan president offers year of ceasefire to Taliban

Ashraf Ghani says nation must unite to resolve issues, including exit of foreign troops
KABUL, Afghanistan: President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani told the participants of a historic peace march on Tuesday the government is willing to extend the cease-fire with the Taliban for a year, if they agree on talks.
Activists who joined the peace march reached Kabul late on Sunday after covering a distance of some 700 kilometers (435 miles) on foot from restive Helmand province to the capital in over a month urging the warring sides to end the bloodshed.
Welcoming the marchers, the president warmly embraced each of the war-weary marchers — most of whom are peasants — and thanked them for raising the peoples’ voice in their landmark peaceful struggle.
“I am ready to sit with them [Taliban leadership] in the desert, in the mountains, in the mosque…wherever they want.”
He directly addressed the Taliban leader as ‘Mawlawi’ [religious scholar] Hibatullah Akhundzada while inviting the rebel leader to come and meet him.
Ghani said the government can extend the cease-fire for a year.
Sunday was the third and last day of truce by the Taliban and the sixth day of the cease-fire by the government after which the militants resumed their offensives.–AA

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