Afghanistan seeks Saudi support for ceasefire

Afghanistan has urged the Saudi government to play a proactive role in achieving a lasting ceasefire in the war-torn country.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar, who recently held wide-ranging talks with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan, issued the call in an interview.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the minister said: “We are very grateful for the special attention received from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Atmar appreciated their eagerness to boost the Afghan-Saudi relationship and generous aid the oil-rich kingdom was extending to the conflict-shattered nation.

The Ashraf Ghani administration had honoured all commitments it held out to the Taliban, the diplomat insisted, asking the militant movement to discharge its obligations and prove its intentions.

Atmar explained: “We have released over 6,000 detainees and met all the demands made by the Taliban.

“Now the Taliban must prove to the Afghan people and the international community that they are fulfilling the promises and obligations they signed,” he stressed.

He viewed the Doha peace talks as a good start for reaching reconciliation with the Taliban. But the dialogue was inadequate without international and regional participation, he believed.

On Taliban’s attempts to dodge blame for growing violence in Afghanistan, Atmar said the best way for the rebel outfit to prove its desire for peace was to agree to a ceasefire.

A ceasefire agreement would serve as the best evidence of the Taliban shunning violence, remarked Atmar.