NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday that he welcomes the announcement of the ceasefire by the Afghan government with the Taliban.
He said the announcement is a positive step towards peace in Afghanistan.
“I welcome the announcement of a ceasefire made by President Ghani and the Government of National Unity. This is a positive step forward on the path to peace. NATO fully supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process,” he said.
The NATO chief called on the Taliban to accept the ceasefire.
When announcing the decision, President Ashraf Ghani said the ceasefire starts from the 27th of Ramadan (June 12) to the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr (June 19).
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also welcomes the move.
“The United Nations commends the stated preparedness of Afghan authorities to initiate, in good faith, any steps to toward a formal peace process,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, as quoted in a statement.
The statement said the ceasefire, which the international military indicated it would honor, follows the Afghan government’s call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban at the Kabul Process II conference in the Afghan capital in February.
“At the same time, the United Nations urges the Taliban to reciprocate the temporary ceasefire,” said Yamamoto. “The way forward must not rely on a military solution but rather a democratic process, and I once again urge the Taliban to take up President Ghani’s peace offer and start direct talks with the government to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people.”
The United Nations continues to stand with all Afghans in solidarity, and remains committed, along with the broader international community, to an Afghan-led peace process that will end the war, the statement added.