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NATO reiterates call on Taliban for peace talks

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AT-KABUL: In a second day of its summit, NATO on Thursday reiterated its call to the Taliban to accept offers to join Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace talks to steer the country out of conflict.

This reiteration of the global military alliance comes as the Taliban militant group killed on Thursdaydozens of security forces across Afghanistan.

In a joint statement, the NATO summit recommitted it respect and support to a negotiated and durable political settlement led by Afghans. The summit also encouraged Pakistan to continue to act on its stated support for a political solution to the Afghanistan conflict, to close terrorist sanctuaries and to work to prevent terrorist financial flows and cross-border attacks, including by working with its neighbors.

The NATO leaders also hailed a finalization of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity. In the presence of Afghan leaders President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah, the NATO leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability.

“The people of Afghanistan demand peace and we are encouraged by the momentum building in that direction. We remain united in our commitment to help Afghanistan attain it,” the joint statement read.

The leaders also paid tribute to sacrifices and resilience of the Afghan people and the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.

A political solution to the conflict with the Taliban, based on national consensus, will be essential in order to achieve sustainable stability and security, the statement said. NATO Allies and Operational Partners welcomed the Afghan government’s unprecedented offer of unconditional peace talks to the Taliban. NATO allies and partners have increased force-levels to maximise the ability to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces and agreed to extend financial sustainment of the Afghan forces through 2024.