US ready for 'all sides' to lay down arms, says Khalilzad


DOHA -- The United States stands ready for "all sides" to lay down arms in the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad Saturday (May 4) said.

Khalilzad is leading the latest round of talks with the Taliban in Doha, where the two sides took a one-day pause Monday (May 6) for the beginning of Ramadan.

"All sides laying down arms is the outcome of any peace process," Khalilzad tweeted.

"All sides agreeing to reduce violence is a necessary step toward achieving that outcome and the morally responsible choice to make. We stand ready."

Khalilzad's comments came a day after President Ashraf Ghani said he was prepared to call an "immediate" and "permanent" ceasefire. The Taliban rebuffed the offer.

Ghani had also offered to release 175 prisoners as a goodwill gesture.

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