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Afghan New Year: VP calls on militants to lay down arms

Ahmad Nazar / AP

Afghans carry balloons to sell, as they walk towards the Sakhi Shrine on occasion of Nawroz, a new year ceremony, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday, March 21.

Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images

Afghan horsemen compete for a goat carcass during a game of Buzkashi to celebrate Nowruz in Mazar-i Sharif, the center of Afghan New Year's or Nowruz celebrations, in northern Afghanistan on Monday. According to Getty, Nawroz, the festival to celebrate new year starts on March 21 which is being celebrated in Turkey, Central Asian republics, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan as well as war-torn Afghanistan and coincides with the astronomical vernal equinox. Hundereds of thousands Afghanistan's people gather from all around of the country in Mazar-i Sharif to celebrate new year.

Musadeq Sadeq / AP

Afghan women walk down of a mountain after watching the rising of holy mace outside the Sakhi Shrine on the occasion of Nawroz, a new year ceremony in Kabul on Monday.

Dar Yasin / AP

Aishya, an Afghan girl poses for picture on a mountain top on the occasion of Nawroz, the New Year ceremony, held at the Sakhi shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday.

According to the AP, in a speech today marking the Afghan new year, Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili called on militants to lay down their weapons because the nation would never return to the days of hardline Taliban rule.

Full story here. Slideshow here.