News Foreign missions call for Taliban ceasefire

Foreign missions call for Taliban ceasefire

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Fifteen diplomatic missions and the NATO representative in Kabul have jointly urged the Taliban to halt military offensives across Afghanistan, just hours after a peace meeting in Doha failed to agree on a ceasefire.

The joint statement was supported by Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union delegation, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US and NATO’s senior civilian representative.

“This Eid al-Adha, the Taliban should lay down their weapons for good and show the world their commitment to the peace process,” the statement said, referring to Tuesday’s Muslim holiday in Afghanistan.

A senior delegation of Afghan leaders met the Taliban’s political leadership in the Qatari capital over the past two days, but a Taliban statement issued late on Sunday made no mention of a halt to Afghanistan’s rising violence.

Over the past few Eid holidays, the Taliban have called temporary ceasefires, saying they wanted to let Afghans spend them in peace.

This time there has been no such announcement, as the Taliban make swift territorial gains in near-unprecedented levels of fighting nationwide.

The insurgents have been emboldened as foreign forces near a complete withdrawal after 20 years of fighting.

Monday’s statement also condemned rights violations, such as efforts to shut schools and media outfits reported by media in areas recently captured by the Taliban, which has previously denied such assertions.