Karzai olive branch for Taliban on UN Peace Day

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday marked the UN`s International Peace Day with a renewed call to Taliban-led insurgents to lay down their arms and reconcile with his administration.

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai
on Tuesday marked the UN`s International Peace Day with a renewed
call to Taliban-led insurgents to lay down their arms and
reconcile with his administration.

"I call on those who have picked up arms against
Afghanistan and peace in this country, to take advantage of
Peace Day and join peace talks through the High Council for
Peace and stop fratricide," Karzai said in a statement.
Karzai earlier this month established a High Council
for Peace tasked with efforts to cut a peace deal with the
Taliban and other Islamist rebels fighting his US-backed
government.

Karzai has repeatedly tried to open a dialogue with
Taliban leaders aimed at speeding an end to the war heading
towards its 10th year.
But the Taliban, the main militant group fighting to
topple Karzai`s government, have repeatedly spurned such
moves, saying they will not talk peace until all foreign
forces have left the country.

The United States and NATO have 150,000 troops in
Afghanistan fighting the insurgency, most of them in Taliban
hotspots of Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the south.

PTI

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