Afghanistan's Loya Jirga Calls For Immediate Cease-Fire

 Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, has wrapped up in Kabul, with leading Afghan politicians and tribal, ethnic, and religious leaders calling for an immediate cease-fire to help settle the nearly two-decade long conflict in the country.Some 3,200 representatives, separated into dozens of individual committees, met in the Afghan capital under tight security to find common ground and discuss methods of reaching a peace deal with the Taliban militant group.According to the state-run Afghan broadcaster RTA World, the Loya Jirga also called for a prisoner exchange and the opening of a Taliban office in Afghanistan.Reacting to the Loya Jirga demand for a cease-fire, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was "prepared to implement the fair and legitimate demand" for a truce but stressed it "cannot be one-sided," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.The Taliban later rejected calls for a truce, which the Loya Jirga proposed should start on May 6, the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.In a statement, the Taliban said waging jihad, or holy war, during Ramadan had "even more [holy] rewards."...................


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