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United States urges Taliban to participate in Afghan electoral process

The Taliban on Wednesday announced the commencement of their annual spring offensive in war-ravaged Afghanistan, rejecting President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of peace talks.

world Updated: Apr 26, 2018 23:33 IST
Press Trust of India, Washington
United States,Afghanistan,Taliban
On Sunday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd outside a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing at least 60 people.(AP/File Photo)

The United States on Thursday urged the Taliban to return to Afghanistan from their “foreign safe havens” and turn their bullets and bombs into ballots.

The Taliban on Wednesday announced the commencement of their annual spring offensive in the war-ravaged country, in an apparent rejection of calls for the militants to accept the Afghan government’s offer of peace talks.

Reacting to the Taliban’s announcement, acting US secretary of state John Sullivan said there was no need for a new fighting season, and it was time for the Taliban to participate in the country’s electoral process.

“As President Ashraf Ghani recently said, the Taliban should turn their bullets and bombs into ballots. They should run for office.They should vote,” Sullivan said.

“We encourage Taliban leaders to return to Afghanistan from their foreign safe havens and work constructively for Afghanistan’s future,” he said, apparently referring to the terror sanctuaries in neighbouring Pakistan.

“More violence will not bring peace and security to Afghanistan,” he said.

President Ghani, Sullivan said, recently extended an “historic invitation” to the Taliban to join the peace process.

“There is no need for a new fighting season. Still, the Taliban announced another campaign of senseless violence targeting the democratically elected and internationally recognised Afghan government and their fellow Afghans,” he said.

Sullivan said the US stands with the Afghan people in response to the Taliban’s announcement.

“We support the brave Afghan security forces who are standing against the Taliban and terrorist groups that seek to destroy Afghan society.

The US-backed Afghan government is under pressure to curb growing deadly terror attacks.

On Sunday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd outside a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing at least 60 people.

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 20:06 IST