23 Jun 2018
Writer: Azizullah Popal

Welcome ceasefire

On the eve of Eid the government called a ceasefire. The Taliban respected it.
For three days Afghans celebrated a holiday from endless rounds of killings that have shattered peace across the country. It was balm to the wrecked dreams of people thirsting for an end to the conflict.
Shokofa who lives in Kabul says every Afghan wants to live in an atmosphere of stability and earn a stable livelihood.
Sidiqullah Tawhidi, a political analyst and journalist, wrote on his Facebook page, "If the scenes of Taliban and security forces embracing each other are from the depths of the heart, (it) proves a fact that war is not an internal war (of sworn enmity)… The Taliban also should know the security forces and people living in the cities are not atheists and instead those who order killings are non-Muslim."
While a majority supported the cessation of hostilities, there were some who viewed the ceasefire as an opportunity for the opponents of the government to regroup and rearm.
The ceasefire also had the support of UN organisations, the European Union, the US government as well as NATO.
Taliban voices, however, continued to maintain that the war would not stop unless international forces in the country are withdrawn.
Political analyst Abdul Halim Azad said that in his opinion, "On the one hand the Afghan government is indebted to the presence of foreign forces … (and) the exit of international soldiers is the pre-condition of Taliban. The road to eternal peace is hard."
Ruqia Nayel, a civil society activist, aired the opinion, that there is fear that as soon as the military coalition led by the US exits, violence would be intensified and the experience of the decade of the civil war (early 1990s) would be repeated. "More care should be considered and this can be ensured only through the presence of Taliban on the talk table."
Will the Taliban be ready to talk? The High Peace Council's head, Mohammad Karim Khalili, said on Sunday said, "We have had this week not only verbal talks rather talks through video with the leaders of Taliban … This itself is a big step for building an atmosphere of talks and negotiations."


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