World / Asia-Pacific

Direct talks between Afghan gov't, Taliban welcomed

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-07-09 09:14

KABUL - Holding the first-ever face-on-face talks between a delegation of Afghan government peace body the High Peace Council (HPC) and Taliban representatives in Pakistan has been widely welcomed at home and abroad.

The much-awaited peace talks since the collapse of Taliban regime in late 2001, according to Afghan government, was held in Pakistan scenic town Murree near Islamabad on Tuesday and both sides agreed to hold second round of the talks after Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.

Both the Afghan government and its people have welcomed the talks as the first step towards achieving lasting peace via peaceful means.

"The first-ever formal talks for peace between the delegation of High Peace Council of Afghanistan and Afghan Taliban group was held in Murree city of Pakistan last night (Tuesday night) and the second round of talks would be held after Ramadan," a statement of Afghan foreign ministry released here Wednesday said.

Aimed at contacting anti-government militants and established by former president Hamid Karzai in 2010, the 70-member High Peace Council (HPC) was authorized to contact Taliban and other insurgent groups to convince them give up fighting, reconcile and help government in reconstruction process of the war-ravaged country.

"The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan while welcoming beginning the formal talks as the first step towards achieving peace is hopeful that the process could facilitate the way for achieving lasting and honorable peace in the country," the statement of Afghan foreign ministry added.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has also welcomed the talks held with Taliban in Pakistan.

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