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US, NATO, UNAMA back Ghani’s ceasefire extension order

US, NATO, UNAMA back Ghani’s ceasefire extension order

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Jun 16, 2018 - 20:54

KABUL (Pajhwok): US and NATOinfo-icon forces and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistaninfo-icon (UNAMA)  in Afghanistan on Saturday declared their support for President Ashraf Ghani’s extension in the ceasefire with the Talibaninfo-icon and his offer to begin peace talks.

A statement from NATO’s resolute support mission (RSM) said: “As US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “we support President Ghani’s offer to extend the cease-fire and begin peace talks.”

“As President Ghani emphasized in his statement to the Afghan people, peace talks by necessity would include a discussion of the role of international actors and forces.  The United States is prepared to support, facilitate and participate in these discussions.”

The statement said the cease-fire with the Taliban did not include US counterterrorism efforts against ISIS-K, Al-Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups.

Earlier today President Ghani ordered security forces to extend their ceasefire with the Taliban and urged the rebels to reciprocate.

In a separate statement, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) commended the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban for honoring the ceasefires.

“UNAMA welcomes the announcement made today by President Ghani to extend the ceasefire with the Taliban beyond Eid-ul-Fitr.

UNAMA has noted and been impressed by the outpouring support for the ceasefires and peace on the part of the Afghan people. UNAMA highly appreciates the decision of President Ghani responding to the overwhelming voice of the people of Afghanistan to extend the ceasefire. UNAMA calls upon the Taliban to respond positively to the desire and yearning of the Afghan people for an end to the conflict.

“The Government’s extension of the ceasefire provides a clear opportunity for initiating a negotiated solution to the conflict,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA. “This opportunity cannot be missed.”

“I have repeatedly stated that a negotiated settlement to the conflict is possible. Now I believe it can be imminent. I call for concrete steps to initiate direct talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people. The Afghan Government’s peace offer, which has been supported by the international community, enables every issue to be discussed. I call upon and encourage all countries concerned, including those in the region, to support this new opening for peace,” said Yamamoto.

“The United Nations continues to stand with all Afghans in solidarity, and contribute, working closely with the broader international community, to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process that will end the war,” reads the statement.

Jhk/ma

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