Afghan president urges Taliban to ceasefire

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced on Saturday real peace was only possible if the insurgents agreed to a ceasefire and direct talks with the government.

This came hours after his U.S. counterpart President Donald Trump called off peace talks with the Taliban.

The Afghan President – who was increasingly concerned over the proposed deal between the U.S. and Taliban – said the Kabul government praises the earnest efforts of its allies and is committed to working together with the United States and other partners to ensure honorable and enduring peace in the country.

“The people and the government of Afghanistan pursue a dignified and sustainable peace and are committed to putting any effort into ensuring peace in the country. However, the government considers the Taliban’s obstinacy to increase violence against Afghans as the main obstacle to the ongoing peace negotiations”, said a statement by the presidency in Kabul.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani were separately coming to the U.S. on Saturday night to meet him at Camp David, Maryland, but Trump said he had canceled the meeting.

Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people,” Trump said in a tweet.

Taliban claimed responsibility for Thursday’s bombing in Kabul.

“If they cannot agree to a cease-fire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” said Trump.

Trump’s announcement came days after top U.S. peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad said the U.S. had reached an agreement in principle with the Taliban.

In an interview with Afghanistan’s Tolo News, he said the U.S. forces would vacate five military bases in Afghanistan in the initial 135 days after signing of the deal.