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Calls intensify for ceasefire as peace talks near

AT News

KABUL: Hundreds of people in the eastern province of Paktia gathered Sunday in the provincial capital of Gardez and called the government and Taliban to agree on a cease fire prior to the peace negotiations expected to begin soon.

Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, a civil society activist spoke to the gathering, saying that continuing clashes would put a negative impact on the peace efforts and peace would not be gained.

He urged the two warring sides to first agree on a cease fire and attract public trust and then go to the negotiation table.

Maulavi Khowaja Haqbayan, a religious scholar, asked the government and Taliban delegations to start negotiations as soon as possible. He said that the ongoing war harms Afghanistan and is only in benefit of the aliens.

He called on the international community to be honest in helping the Afghan peace efforts so that the people of Afghanistan manage to reach a durable peace.

Oryakhil, a tribal elder, asked the warring sides to put an end to the war and go for the intra-Afghan talks.

The gathering emphasized that there was no excuse left to postpone the intra-Afghan negotiations, so the two warring parties need to begin peace talks the soonest.

Both the government and Taliban have said they are ready to hold talks after the government released the last of 400 Taliban prisoners it held in custody.

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