KABUL, Afghanistan

The Afghan president on Monday warned the peace process in the country might face “serious challenges” if the Taliban continued with the war.

Ashraf Ghani was speaking at a virtual conference on Afghanistan, titled “Strengthening Consensus for Peace,” with representatives of some 20 regional countries and international organizations in attendance.

In his remarks, Ghani stressed the Afghan government has the capacity and political will to end the war and a political solution has been offered to the Taliban.

“The champions of peace will be people of Afghanistan and the region. Regional support for a democratic system in Afghanistan would further strengthen regional cooperation,” he said.

The Afghan president lamented that the current level of violence in Afghanistan remains higher and the Taliban “continued to keep ties to terrorist networks.”

He thanked Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, India and Central Asian countries for trade avenues to evade shortages of basic items in the landlocked country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry emphasized the signing of the US-Taliban Peace Agreement created a historic opportunity that must be seized by the Afghan leadership to work together and achieve an inclusive and comprehensive political settlement. 

In a statement, the ministry said Pakistan hopes the release of prisoners will be completed soon in line with the peace agreement which would pave the way for the earliest commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations.

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