KABUL, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday called upon Taliban militants to give up fighting and initiate peace talks to boost the national reconciliation in the war-battered country.
"I am calling upon Taliban to follow Hekmatyar step and initiate dialogue with government for returning lasting peace in Afghanistan," the president said at a ceremony held in Presidential Palace to welcome Hekmatyar.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Afghanistan's Hizb-e-Islami, or Islamic Party, arrived in Kabul on Thursday, ending decades of exile and fighting against the government to strengthen national reconciliation and peace process in his country.
Hekmatyar's return to Kabul is taking place in the wake of inking a peace agreement with the Afghan government in September 2016 to join Afghan politics.
Welcoming Hekmatyar's return to Kabul, President Ghani pointed out that all Afghans want peace and the government is determined to spare no efforts to achieve the noble cause of restoring durable peace and security in Afghanistan.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hekmatyar noted that Afghans have been fed up with war and are striving to have peace and stability in their country.
Hekmatyar also noted that he has no preconditions for joining the peace process by saying, "I don't come to join power or having ministry in the government". "My sole aim is to see peace in my country and anyone wants peace I would cooperate to end the war," he asserted.
In his address, Hekmatyar also described Taliban as "brothers" and called upon them to join the peace process and "test the peace once" to end the excuse for the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan.
Many Afghans including Hekmatyar believe that the U.S.-led foreign forces under the excuse of the ongoing militancy in Afghanistan justify their presence in the war-battered country.