Suspected Taliban militants stand handcuffed in Jalalabad city, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Sept. 18, 2017. Afghan security personnel captured 13 suspected Taliban militants during an operation in Nangarhar province, a local official said. (Xinhua/Rahman Safi)
UNITED NATIONS, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The top UN envoy for Afghanistan on Thursday urged the Taliban to engage in peace talks with the government since the latter has offered talks without preconditions.
Afghanistan successfully hosted the second conference of the Kabul Process, at which all participants have endorsed the call for direct talks between the government and the Taliban without preconditions, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, told the Security Council.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has laid out a path for negotiations with a series of concrete proposals to create space for the opening of talks, said Yamamoto.
"The offer of negotiation is on the table. It is now incumbent upon the Taliban to come forward with an offer of their own and start direct talks with the government to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people."
Photo taken on Oct. 28, 2017 shows Afghan security force members at the site of Talibanattack in Ghazni province, Afghanistan. Up to nine police personnel were killed as Taliban militants stormed security checkpoints in Khashik and Shahbaz neighborhoods outside Ghazni city, the capital of eastern Ghazni province, spokesman for provincial government Arif Nuri said. (Xinhua/Stringer)
The Taliban's argument that they will not talk to the Afghan government because the conflict is not between Afghan parties misrepresents the reality that tens of thousands of Afghan people are killed and maimed every year in direct confrontations between the Taliban and the government forces, he said.
Yamamoto stressed the importance of national unity. "National unity provides the only basis for the continuation of international support for Afghanistan, and for the implementation of effective reforms."
Suspected Talibanmilitants stand handcuffed in Jalalabad city, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Sept. 18, 2017. Afghan security personnel captured 13 suspected Taliban militants during an operation in Nangarhar province, a local official said. (Xinhua/Rahman Safi)
"When looking at the recent domestic political developments, I am compelled to express my concern about some actions which could deepen divisions in society," he said.
Yamamoto warns that parliamentary elections might be delayed beyond the current July 2018 date despite progress on voter registration preparations. But the elections could still be held within this year as long as preparations are not delayed and voter registration begins on schedule in April, he said.