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Saudi-based Islamic organization calls for Afghan cease-fire

July 11, 2018
FILE - In this June 16, 2018 file photo, Taliban fighters gather with residents to celebrate a three-day cease fire marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan seems even more elusive, both for troops on the front lines of this war-battered country and for survivors of countless attacks, since the Taliban shrugged off the government’s latest offers of cease-fire and negotiations. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A summit of religious scholars organized by the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called for a new cease-fire in Afghanistan, a request already dismissed out of hand by the Taliban.

The summit held by the 57-nation organization ended Wednesday. Participants issued a communique asking all sides in the conflict to put down their arms and begin “direct Afghan negotiations” to end the country’s nearly 17-year war.

The government of President Ashraf Ghani had welcomed the conference, which came after a cease-fire for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The Taliban accepted a three-day truce, but rejected Ghani’s offer to extend it.

The Taliban dismissed the Saudi summit before it began, saying they only want direct talks with the United States on the withdrawal of all American troops.

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