Ghani presses Pakistan to battle Taliban

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Kabul—Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in a speech to the Afghan parliament on Monday, called on Pakistan to battle some factions of the Taliban rather than try to bring them into peace talks.
Ghani’s statement comes a week after a Taliban assault on the Afghan capital, Kabul, killed 64 people and wounded another 340.
Although President Ashraf Ghani said Afghanistan faced a terrorist enemy led by Taliban “slaves” in Pakistan, his statement appeared to leave the door open to resuming peace talks with some factions of the Taliban as he suggested there was still some hope of compromise with at least some Taliban.
He said that the doors of negotiation would remain open for those Taliban ready to stop bloodshed but added: “This opportunity will not be there forever.”
He claimed Taliban leaders finding shelter in Peshawar and Quetta were “slaves and enemies of Afghanistan who shed the blood of their countrymen” and he called on Pakistan to wipe them out.
Ghani stopped short of declaring a state of national emergency, pledging war against radical groups like the militant Islamic State (IS) and the Haqqani network. Pakistan denies harbouring and aiding the Taliban but Ghani urged the Pakistan government to “fulfill promises and carry out military operations against those whose bases are in Pakistan”.
Ghani said there are “no good or bad terrorists, they are just terrorists”, and that “Pakistan must understand that and act against them.” The response from the Taliban, who have already rejected peace talks while Western forces remain in Afghanistan, was scornful.—AP

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