Eid ceasefire; a big opportunity for lasting peace in Afghanistan

Despite the Taliban’s announcement of a three-day ceasefire beginning on last Friday, Eid-ul-Adha celebrations across Afghanistan remained somber and muted. The increasing violence, failing peace efforts and swiftly spreading pandemic weigh on people’s minds in the capital Kabul and across the country.

On July 28, the Taliban announced a temporary truce for Eid-ul-Adha, instructing all fighters to refrain from attacking enemies unless provoked. This was the second ceasefire between the insurgent group and the Afghan government this year, and only the third pause in fighting over two decades of war in Afghanistan.

But with insurgent attacks continuing to cause high civilian casualties, Afghans are skeptical of the Taliban’s commitment to peace. A car bomb detonated on Thursday, just hours ahead of the start of the ceasefire, left 18 martyred and over 40 civilians injured in Logar, a province close to the Afghan capital. The Taliban has denied involvement in the attack, but Afghan security officials claim to have evidence that a local Taliban leader was involved in the massacre.

Though, this truce was for a short time, but is a unique opportunity for lasting stability in the country, as the people suffered more than four decades of war and conflict.

Though it is very idealistic, but it is possible to put an end to the prolog conflict if there is a strong political will among the different sides of the conflict. The government of Afghanistan has termed this move of the Taliban as “a good start”, and has added that the Afghan government expects, “the window that has been opened should turn to better opportunities”.

The government of Afghanistan and all the Afghan citizens expect the Taliban act positively against the demands of Ulema and focus more on stopping the war and bloodshed in the country.

The Afghan government has shown it is willing to engage with the Taliban in a very different way. The government has repeatedly announced its readiness to talk with the Taliban and has time and again called them to come to negotiations table to reach mutually acceptable solutions.

The three-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban insurgents was indeed a move that gave hope to the people that, first of all they would have a peaceful Eid for 3 days. At the same time, it is a sign of different approach of the Taliban group to the ceasefires and peace negotiations offered by the government in the past.

Though, the ceasefire is a short period, but in terms of diplomacy, it is a big achievement for the Afghan government and good progress for peace talks in the war-ton country. The truce, that welcomed by regional countries, including Pakistan, requires regional and international support.

Meanwhile national and international consensus for peace in the country is of immense important, as conflict in the country has regional and international dimensions. Without regional and international support, as well as a unified stance among Afghan politicians, the peace process would not go ahead, rather would further fuel insurgency. Therefore, Eid truce should be utilized to the best and efforts should be made for lasting stability in the country.

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