UN chief lauds Afghanistan’s extension of ceasefire

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United Nations, June 17 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the Afghan government’s announcement of a unilateral extension of the ceasefire with the Taliban.

Guterres on Saturday urged the Taliban to heed the call for peace from the Afghan people and reciprocate the gesture, Xinhua news agency reported.

The UN chief said he believes that the only solution to the conflict in Afghanistan is through an inclusive political process and urged both sides not to let those trying to derail the peace efforts to prevail.

He also condemned Saturday’s attack targeting Eid celebrations in Nangarhar province in which 26 people were killed.

The government had announced a seven-day ceasefire from June 12 to encourage the Taliban to support the national reconciliation process.

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Reciprocating the step, the armed group announced a three-day truce from the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr till Sunday.

The ceasefire was extended on Saturday unilaterally by the Afghan government despite the bombing, through a rare televised address by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

He asked the Taliban to extend their three-day ceasefire too but the group has not responded so far.

–IANS

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