Want to forget past and start new chapter with Pakistan, says Ashraf Ghani

KABUL: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said that Kabul is ready for talks with Pakistan, adding that they want to forget the past and start a new chapter.

Calling on Pakistan to hold government-to-government talks, Ghani said the best place to hold peace talks is Kabul, according to media.

Ghani made the remarks during a speech at the opening of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation which went under way today.

The conference, the first part of which was held in June last year, comprises representatives from around 25 countries, including Pakistan, and members of international organisations.

The aim of the meeting is to find a settlement to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.

‘Peace in Taliban’s hands’

In a message to the Taliban, the Afghan president said peace is in their hands today and called on the group to accept peace and come together to save this country.

He said that the peace process and a ceasefire must be agreed upon and that Taliban must be declared a political group.

Ghani laid out several olive branches to the Taliban in his speech, saying the government will provide facilities and security to those who join the peace process, work on freeing prisoners, provide passports for Taliban members and their families and will issue visas, open an office for them including in Kabul and will also work to remove sanctions against Taliban leaders, according to media.

Earlier, the Afghan president said consensus is still needed to take coordinated action among states to counter the threat faced by Afghanistan.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani in his opening remarks said that peace in Afghanistan would benefit the whole region and the world at large.

In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Ghani had said he would present a detailed peace offer to the Taliban and Pakistan on behalf of the Afghan people.

“We wish to march toward a lasting peace in #Afghanistan and in the region!” he had said in the message.