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Kabul hopes to negotiate peace with Taliban despite challenges

Kabul: The Afghan government hopes to hold talks with the Taliban (designated terrorist and banned in Russia) on the conflict settlement despite the existing challenges, President Ashraf Ghani said Friday.

“We will try to use all means to negotiate with the Taliban, despite the existing obstacles, and not to yield to them,” Ghani said at a Central and South Asia summit in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

A large number of militants have been crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan in recent months, according to the president.

“The only choice offered by the Taliban is either to defect to their side or to surrender,” Ghani said.

The Afghan leader noted that despite there being a consensus among various international observers, “they have not taken any steps to provide support.”

Earlier this week, reports emerged that Kabul intends to send a high-ranking delegation, including ex-President Hamid Karzai and head of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, to Qatar’s Doha in the next few days to hold talks with the Taliban.

Violence has been on the rise in Afghanistan in recent weeks, as the Taliban have stepped up their offensive since the foreign forces began to withdraw from the country.

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