Afghanistan: first day of truce for possible talks

Photo of author

By admin

Kabul | A three-day ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban began on Friday, a rare respite that many hope could lead to historic peace talks between the two camps.

The truce, which is to last three days on the occasion of the Eid al-Adha holidays, is the third in nearly 19 years of war.

“This is a historic opportunity for peace and no one should waste it,” Zemarai Sediqqi, a 26-year-old professor, told AFP. “I grew up in this conflict, that’s enough. Now is the time for lasting peace ”.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban have hinted that talks could begin after Eid.

These inter-Afghan negotiations were initially scheduled to take place from March 10, but this date was exceeded due in particular to a stagnation in the process of exchanging prisoners, the completion of which is required as a prerequisite by the rebels.

This release by the Afghan authorities of 5,000 insurgents and by the Taliban of 1,000 members of the security forces is soon coming to an end.

The rebels announced Thursday evening that they had done their part, with a total of 1,005 prisoners released, while Kabul has already released at least 4,400 prisoners.

The Afghan government has, however, warned that some of the prisoners whose release the Taliban are seeking are too dangerous to be released.

While they have halted their attacks on Washington since the signing of the US-Taliban accord, the insurgents have increased their violence against Afghan forces, also killing scores of civilians.

According to Ghani, more than 3,500 Afghan forces and nearly 800 civilians have been killed since the agreement.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (Manua) blamed most of the civilian casualties in the first half of 2020 on Taliban attacks.

For many Afghans, tired of the endless violence, the three-day truce is not enough.

“We want a permanent ceasefire by the Taliban so as not to see a single Afghan killed in this war,” Ahmad Jawed, a university graduate, told AFP.

Following the two previous truces in 2018 and May 2020 the Taliban immediately returned to the battlefield.

“If they want peace, they should lay down their weapons and immediately start talks with the Afghan government,” Farhad Habibi wrote on Facebook on Twitter.

Leave a Comment