The Afghan president says that negotiations with the Taliban are the way to "end the bloodshed" and bring peace to the country.

Ashraf Ghani spoke at the presidential palace in Kabul after Friday prayers on the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which follows the fasting month of Ramadan.

It was his first Eid message to the nation since becoming president last year. Ghani has made peace talks with the Taliban a priority for his administration.

Ghani also thanked Mullah Mohammad Omar, the reclusive Afghan Taliban leader, for his statement this week backing the peace talks.

Ghani says it' important the Taliban "want to join the political process."

Earlier this month, neighboring Pakistan hosted the first face-to-face Kabul-Taliban talks, supervised by U.S. and Chinese representatives.