Afghan President Ashraf Ghani makes new offers to Afghan Taliban

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani makes new offers to Afghan Taliban

KABUL - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has expressed hope of holding direct talks with Taliban insurgents to achieve peace in the country.

Ghani gave an exclusive interview with NHK in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The Taliban and the United States began peace talks last year. They were close to agreeing on a partial withdrawal of US forces from the country, but talks were suspended last month following a terror attack by the Taliban.

Ghani said a possible troop withdrawal should be discussed with the Afghan government, expressing displeasure about his government's exclusion from the negotiations.

The Taliban reject direct talks with the government, which they call a puppet of the US.

But the president said, "Peace will only come when the legitimate government of Afghanistan and the Taliban enter into direct negotiations."

About the possibility of the Taliban joining politics if peace is achieved, Ghani said he would be delighted if the Taliban turn themselves into a political party.

He stressed that the insurgent group should try to make their voices heard through elections rather than resorting to violence.

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