KABUL, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday hoped to return lasting peace to his conflict-plagued country sooner or later.
"Peace would return to Afghanistan. Taliban are in contact with us. The lasting peace would return today or tomorrow. The lasting peace would absolutely return to Afghanistan," Karzai said in his remarks to inaugurate the new education year.
He expressed the hope for peace while the Taliban leadership has repeatedly ruled out holding any talks with the government in the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan.
The militant group in the latest attack targetted the luxury hotel of Serena in Kabul on Thursday night, killing nine civilians, including four foreigners.
Linking Afghanistan's development and progress to learning and high rate of literacy, Karzai called upon Afghans particularly the youth and children to go to school and study hard to build their country.
In his address, the president also called upon his countrymen to use their right of suffrage in upcoming presidential and provincial councils elections scheduled for April 5.
This year, according to Afghan minster for education Farooq Wardak, 11.5 million children go to school while 1.3 million others are deprived of getting education, due to variety of reasons including security problems.