Foreign missions in Kabul issue joint call for Taleban ceasefire

The Taleban have made swift territorial gains in near-unprecedented levels of fighting nationwide. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL (REUTERS) - Fifteen diplomatic missions and the Nato representative in Kabul joined hands on Monday (July 19) to urge the Taleban to halt military offensives across Afghanistan, just hours after a peace meeting in Doha failed to agree on a ceasefire.

A senior delegation of Afghan leaders met the Taleban's political leadership in the Qatari capital over the last two days, but a Taleban statement issued late on Sunday made no mention of a halt to Afghanistan's rising violence.

"This Eid al-Adha, the Taleban should lay down their weapons for good and show the world their commitment to the peace process," the 15 missions and the Nato representative said, referring to Tuesday's Muslim holiday in Afghanistan.

The joint statement was supported by Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union delegation, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Britain and the United States and Nato's senior civilian representative.

Over the last few Eid holidays, the Taleban have called temporary ceasefires, saying they wanted to let Afghans spend them in peace.

This time there has been no such announcement, as the Taleban make swift territorial gains in near-unprecedented levels of fighting nationwide.

The insurgents have been emboldened as foreign forces near a complete withdrawal after 20 years of fighting.

Monday's statement also condemned rights violations, such as efforts to shut schools and media outfits reported by media in areas recently captured by the Taleban, which has previously denied such assertions.

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