KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - In a speech for the start of a Muslim holiday, the Afghan president has urged the Taliban to lay down their arms, join the political process and stop killing innocent civilians.
Hamid Karzai spoke Thursday after prayers for the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He thanked the Afghan security forces for their sacrifices in the war against the insurgency.
He says too many Afghans have lost their lives to roadside bombs during this year's Ramadan and that the violence should end.
He says the Taliban should, instead of opening an office in the Gulf state of Qatar, open one in Afghanistan, just like any other political party.
The Taliban have stepped up the fight to regain territory as foreign troops withdraw.