Iran welcomes Ashraf Ghani’s offer for peace talks with Taliban

FNA – Iran announced on Monday that it certainly welcomes Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s proposal for ceasefire and peace talks with the Taliban.

“Security, stability and tranquility in Afghanistan is important to Iran and we have welcomed any measure and effort which can help establish security, tranquility and stability in Afghanistan and we certainly welcome this proposal as well,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a press conference in Tehran today.

He expressed the hope that all groups and the government in Afghanistan would be able to use this proposal as an opportunity to reach ceasefire and calm conditions to pave the ground for talks and understanding for a better situation in the country.

“We will certainly support it,” Qassemi stressed.

Ghani announced Sunday afternoon that his government would offer a two-month ceasefire to Taliban on the condition that they respond positively.

In a live televised address marking Afghanistan’s independence from Britain in 1919, Ghani called on Taliban leaders to “welcome the wishes of Afghans for a long-lasting and real peace” and urged them to prepare for peace talks.

He said the truce would go into effect Monday, the eve of a three-day Muslim festival, and last until October, “provided that the Taliban reciprocate”.

There was no immediate response from the Taliban regarding the cease-fire, but its committee on prisoners released a statement Sunday night saying the group would free hundreds of captives who are “fit to be released” during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday.