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Afghan President: Taliban Could Join Peace Talks, Despite Rejection

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has dismissed the Taliban’s rejection of his offer of peace talks, suggesting that the militant group can still be persuaded to come to the negotiating table. In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan in Kabul on July 16, Ghani said the Taliban’s opposition to peace talks was not “a full rejection.” “It’s like when you ask someone’s hand in marriage and the family of the bride says no several times [before relenting],” said Ghani, referring to a culture in which refusal is seen as a sign of humility. “In reality, it is likely that we will get a positive answer," Ghani said. Earlier this month, the Taliban said it would not negotiate with the Kabul government after a first-ever cease-fire between the two sides coinciding with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr raised hopes of jump-starting long-stalled talks..............

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