United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the week-long ceasefire announced by the Government of Afghanistan with the Taliban and called on the militant group to reciprocate the temporary pause.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Guterres urged the Taliban to “accept President Ashraf Ghani’s peace offer to commence direct talks to bring an end to the long suffering of the Afghan people.”
He also expressed the Organization’s solidarity with the people and Government of Afghanistan and said that the UN “remains committed to supporting an Afghan-led peace process.”
In a separate statement on Thursday, the top UN official for the country, Tadamichi Yamamoto, commended the Afghan authorities for the preparedness they expressed “to initiate, in good faith, any steps to toward a formal peace process.”
“The way forward must not rely on a military solution but rather a democratic process,” he said.
The ceasefire, announced by the Government starts on the 27th of Ramadan (12 June) and will run through the end of Ramadan to fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr. The international military presence in the country has also indicated that it will honour the pause in fighting.
It follows the Afghan Government’s call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban at the Kabul Process II conference in the Afghan capital in February, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, which Mr. Yamamoto heads.
The announcement also comes on the back of calls by more than 2,000 religious scholars who had gathered this week in the capital, Kabul, to denounce the ongoing conflict and urge all warring sides to embrace peace added the UN mission.