Taliban want to join the system, says Ghani

KABUL (Pajhwok): Congratulating the Afghans on the occasion of Eidul Fitr, President Ashraf Ghani on Friday welcomed Taliban’s eagerness to join the peace process and said the group wanted to be part of the system.
Ghani, who offered Eid prayers at the Presidential Palace, congratulated the Afghans and the entire Muslim world over the observance of the religious festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Former president Hamid Karzai, Second Vice-President Sarwar Danish, Second Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Muhaqqiq, president’s special representative for reforms and good governance Ahmad Zia Massoud, cabinet ministers, former jihadi leaders, Ulema Council members, parliamentarians, senior military officials and other prominent figures attended the prayers at the Presidential Palace.
The president prayed for peace and stability in Afghanistan and wished no untoward incident may occur on this holy day.
But a bomb blast ripped through a mosque in northern Balkh province after the Eid prayers, killing at least one person and injuring 11 others.
“Our important message is peace and end to the bloodshed which is a demand of our people,” the president said in his first Eid message.
Ghani welcomed Taliban’s leader Mullah Omar's statement in which he had endorsed the peace talks. He said Taliban’s problems were different from others as the group wanted to join the system and other problems with them would be resolved through talks.
But those terrorists coming from neighbouring and other countries would be given a befitting reply by the Afghan security forces, Ghani said.
“We want to get rid of the war which has been imposed on us and instead fight against poverty, hunger and injustices and lay the foundation of a society trusted by everyone.”
Ghani also thanked his predecessor Hamid Karzai for always advising the government on the peace process, saying what he had intitated in this regard would be accompolished.
The president said negotiations with the Taliban were the only way to "end the bloodshed" and bring peace to the country.
Earlier in July, neighboring Pakistan hosted the first face-to-face Kabul-Taliban talks, supervised by US and Chinese representatives.
The meeting was said to have made progress, with the two sides agreeing to work on confidence-building measures and hold more such meetings after Ramadan.
Ghani has in the past sought Pakistan's help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations, since Islamabad is believed to wield influence over the group.

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