Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said negotiations with the Taliban are the nation’s only way out to put an end to the on-going bloodshed in his country.
In his first Eidul Fitr message to the nation on Friday, the Afghan president claimed, “Negotiations with the Taliban are the only way to "end the bloodshed" and bring peace to the country.”
Read: Afghan reconciliation: Mullah Omar aide likely to join peace talks
However, at least two people were killed and 12 others wounded in a blast in northern Balkh province as Ghani delivered his speech at the presidential palace in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Sarajuddin Abid, district governor of Sholgara, where the blast had occurred confirmed the incident but no immediate claim was made from anyone for the attack.
Ghani has made talks with the Taliban a priority since his election as the Afghan president last year. "The negotiations are the solution, the way and this is what our nation wants, to end the bloodshed," he said.
Meanwhile, the Afghan president also expressed his gratitude to Supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, for endorsing the peace talks and termed them ‘an important development’ in the political process.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mullah Omar had endorsed the political role of his armed movement in his traditional “Eid” message, just days after senior Taliban leaders held their first and direct talks with Afghan government in Murree.
Read: Mullah Omar endorses 'political endeavours and peaceful pathways'
Omar, whose whereabouts have not been known since 2001, however, did not directly mention the July 7 peace talks brokered by Pakistan.
Further, for the first time Mullah Omar had addressed the issue of labelling the Taliban as Pakistan’s agents.
“Some circles accuse mujahideen of being agents of Pakistan and Iran. This is an utterly unjust verdict because neither our past history nor the present prevailing circumstances attest to this statement and the forthcoming history will also be a witness against these false accusations,” the Taliban leader insisted.
In the wake of the departure of Nato combat forces at the end of last year, the Taliban have stepped up attacks on Afghan troops, which are now in charge of security in the country, and are also targeting government officials.
This article originally appeared on Yahoo News.