Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has made a series of assurances including recognition of the Afghan Taliban as a legitimate political group and release of prisoners as the extremist organisation shows increasing willingness to hold dialogue in a bid to end the 16-year-long conflict between the US-backed government and the Islamist group.

Besides proposing a ceasefire, Ghani promised to offer Taliban an office in the Afghan capital Kabul or in any other location of their choice, passports and withdrawal of sanctions if the Islamist group is willing to give up arms and work towards economic progress of the war-torn nation.

Speaking at an internatiional conference of countries and organisations involved in the second Kabul Process, on Wednesday, 28 February, the Afghan leader told the Taliban militants: "Let's build Afghanistan together". The first such peace conference took place in 2017.

"Taliban leaders and all members, the decision is in your hands. Accept peace, come to the negotiating table," said Ghani. "We are making this offer without preconditions in order to lead to a peace agreement."

Ghani said the Taliban, in return, should recognise the Kabul administration while upholding the law of the country. He added that the government is ready to undertake constitutional reforms as part of an agreement with the Taliban insurgents.

"The Taliban are expected to give input to the peace-making process, the goal of which is to draw the Taliban, as an organisation, to peace talks," said Ghani.

This is seen as a significant shift from Ghani's original policy of labelling the Taliban as "terrorists" though a talks offer was formally on the table.

A document titled "Offering Peace: Framing the Kabul Conference of February 28, 2018" was released at the summit outlining the government's offer saying all the stakeholders are keen to bring stability to Afghanistan.

"Afghans have a sense of urgency, stemming from four decades of suffering and more recently, unrestricted warfare on citizens," read the document.

Ghani's remarks come against the backdrop of the Taliban's recent overtures in inviting the US for holding direct talks at its political office in Doha after years of fighting in the region.

"Our struggle is for the liberation of the country," a Taliban official told Al Jazeera. "It is not a power struggle. How can a liberation struggle be deemed complete without foreign forces pulling out?"

"Since it is [only] the US which can decide and implement a decision for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan that is why direct talks with the US are necessary in the first phase. During a second phase, we can sit with the Afghan government and discuss all of the domestic issues."

Afghanistan Kabul military academy attack
Afghan security forces stand near the Marshal Fahim military academy after a series of explosions in Kabul, Afghanistan Mohammad Ismail/Reuters