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UN urges Taliban to observe ceasefire

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AT-KABUL: The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomed the announcement made by the Government of Afghanistan for a temporary ceasefire with the Taliban, the agency said in a statement.

Citing calls by more than 2,000 religious scholars gathered this week in Kabul to denounce the ongoing war and urge all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to embrace peace, President Ashraf Ghani initiated the ceasefire, which he indicated will start on the 27th of Ramadan (12 June) and will run through the end of Ramadan to the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

“The United Nations commends the stated preparedness of Afghan authorities to initiate, in good faith, any steps to toward a formal peace process,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA.

The ceasefire, which the international military indicated it would honour, follows the Afghan government’s call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban at the Kabul Process II conference in the Afghan capital in February.

“At the same time, the United Nations urges the Taliban to reciprocate the temporary ceasefire,” said Yamamoto. “The way forward must not rely on a military solution but rather a democratic process, and I once again urge the Taliban to take up President Ghani’s peace offer and start direct talks with the government to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people.”

The United Nations continues to stand with all Afghans in solidarity, and remains committed, along with the broader international community, to an Afghan-led peace process that will end the war.