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Turkey urges Afghan Taliban to accept Kabul's talks offer

16 Apr 2018 TRT World

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says the Kabul government's offer of peace talks is a "historic opportunity" for Taliban.

Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim and Afghanistan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah (not seen) hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Afghanistan on April 8, 2018.




Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Sunday urged the Taliban in Afghanistan to enter peace talks with the Kabul government."Recently, the peace process, which Afghanistan put forward to completely resolve the terror issue in the country, is a very brave and a meaningful step," Yildirim said."Mostly, we expect Taliban to benefit from this historic opportunity. Now, it is time to move from the past and build the future."Yildirim made the remarks during a join news conference with Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, saying the Kabul government's offer to Taliban is a "very brave step."Abdullah thanked Turkey for its role in ensuring peace and development in Afghanistan, and added Yildirim's visit to Kabul will further strengthen ties between the two countries.

Pressure growing on TalibanIn February, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group as part of a proposed political process that he said could lead to talks aimed at ending more than 16 years of war.Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners as part of a range of options including new elections, involving the fighters, and a constitutional review as part of a pact with the Taliban to end a conflict that last year alone killed or wounded more than 10,000 Afghan civilians.The Taliban, fighting to end the presence of foreign troops after their 2001 defeat by US-led troops, have offered to begin talks with the United States but have so far refused direct talks with Kabul.It is unclear whether Taliban would be prepared to shift its stance, despite growing international pressure.Importance of PakistanYildirim also underlined the importance of Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's recent trip to Kabul.After the trip, Pakistan's prime minister said Kabul accepted his offer to revive stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Meanwhile, Yildirim assured that Ankara would continue to support Afghanistan in fighting terrorism, and would also enhance bilateral ties in other fields including trade and defence.The Turkish prime minister also met Afghan president during the visit.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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