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Afghan leaders could negotiate end to war: US

Afghan leaders could negotiate end to war: US

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Jun 21, 2018 - 14:04

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A senior US official has expressed hope that an unprecedented three-day ceasefire could be the beginning of the end of the 17-year war in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

The ceasefire, which coincided with the holiday of Eid, ended on Sunday, but was marked by images of members of the Talibaninfo-icon hugging, dancing and praying with Afghan civilians and some soldiers.

“For many Afghans, Taliban and pro-government forces alike, it was an exhilarating first taste of what peace might look like,” Alice Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, told a House committee Wednesday.

She said: “Taliban fighters wandered the streets of the cities. They took selfies with Afghan soldiers. They sampled Eid treats with citizens. And they worshipped alongside those they had been exchanging fire with just a few days earlier.”

If Afghan troops and Taliban could pray together, then the Afghan people had every reason to believe that their leaders could come together and negotiate an end to the war, the official remarked.

The US would like Pakistaninfo-icon to arrest and expel Taliban fighters and recognise the sensitivities associated with the British-era frontier called Durand Lineinfo-icon

In her testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Wells indicated the US was prepared to take part in negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and that its desired outcomes for any peace process were clear.

“The Taliban must renounce violence, break ties with al Qaeda and accept the Afghan Constitution, including its protections for womeninfo-icon and minorities,” Wells said. “The key question remains: Will the Taliban join a peace process and make the compromises necessary to end the war?”

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