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Intra-Afghan talks to begin within next few weeks: Ghani

KABUL (TOLO News): President Ashraf Ghani at an international symposium on smart city in Kabul on Saturday said that the intra-Afghan negotiations – between the Afghan government and the Taliban – will begin within the next few weeks, saying “peace is our goal and we have a strong will for it”.

Ghani condemned a recent attack near the Kabul University on Friday and said that targeting Afghan civilians, universities, and children means targeting the religion, civilization and national dignity of Afghanistan.

“Why are you targeting innocent civilians while [intra-Afghan] negotiations will begin within the next few days or weeks?” Ghani asked.

He said that the Afghan government has not asked the Taliban to surrender, but it has asked them to talk.

“We have not asked the Taliban to surrender; we asked for negotiations for an enduring peace. They should accept [the call for talks],” he said.

This comes as according to US Department of State, envoys of China, Russia, and the United States in a meeting in Beijing agreed on an immediate start of the intra-Afghan negotiations which will also involve the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Meanwhile, Ghani said that a good order has been established in the country’s municipalities and that corruption has been removed from the institutions.

Ghani said land grabbing is a crime and that “land grabbers” will be held accountable.

“Thirteen thousand land grabbers have been recognized and all the lands grabbed by them will be recovered,” Ghani added.

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