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UN chief calls for strenuous effort for Afghanistan peace

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KABUL: The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres believes that the second political agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and his frequent electoral rival Abdullah Abdullah was needed to break a political impasse Afghanistan was facing.

Ghani agreed to include Abdullah in his government after the latter threatened to form a parallel government in the wake of his failure at the last year’s poll.

Abdullah now heads the reconciliation council, a body responsible to run peace talks with the Taliban.

“I hope the Afghan government takes more positive steps to the intra-Afghan negotiations and use this historical opportunity to end the current crisis,” Guterres has mentioned in a report he is to deliver to the Security Council on June 25.

The report has expressed regrets over the civilian casualties of the increasing violence since March.

Guterres has said that Afghans are facing new threats arising from war, poverty, poor security and coronavirus outbreak.

In his report, the UN chief has mentioned terrorist attacks against a maternity hospital in Dasht- e-Barchi as well as a Sikh temple in the old part of Kabul, emphasizing that such violence should not be repeated.

Taliban have not yet announced their spring offensives they used to start every year in April or May. The insurgents agreed a three-day long cease fire in May in respect to the Eid festivity.

“They (Taliban) continue violence against the people even during the cease fire. There is no reduction in violence and fears from Taliban have increased,” Javid Faisal, Spokesman for the National Security Council said on Sunday.

Taliban did not comment.

Guterres has hoped that prisoner release be done soon to open the door for direct talks between Ghani’s administration and Taliban.

“The two sides do not trust each other. Taliban are insisting on the release of their 5,000 comrades as a precondition for the talks,” said Shukria Barakzai, former ambassador to Norway. She said that it could be difference, not agreement.

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