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Hope for peace in Afghanistan

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Hope for peace in Afghanistan

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has offered recognition of Taliban insurgents as a legitimate political group as part of a proposed political process that could lead to talks aimed at ending more than 16 years of war.

"We are making this offer without any preconditions in order to lead to a peace agreement," Ghani said in opening remarks to an international conference attended by officials from around 25 countries involved in the so-called Kabul Process.

Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners.

He also said he would be ready to accept a review of the constitution as part of a pact with the Taliban, who have so far refused to accept direct talks with the government in Kabul.

The United States last year stepped up its military assistance to Afghanistan, notably through a sharp increase in air strikes, with the aim of breaking a stalemate with the insurgents and forcing them to the negotiating table.