KABUL: Referring to increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid was quoted by the Associated Press on Wednesday as saying: “If, God forbid, the outbreak happens in an area where we control the situation then we will stop fighting in that area.”
The AP wrote “the Taliban said Wednesday the group was ready to declare a cease-fire in areas of Afghanistan under its control if they are hit by a coronavirus outbreak.”
On Thursday morning, Zabiullah Mujahid took issue with the AP’s use of the word “cease-fire,” saying that, if the coronavirus breaks out in certain areas, “we have the situation under control and we can stop the war in that area,” to allow health care agencies to work, which “does not mean cease-fire.”
However, a Western security source told media last week that already attacks–from all sides in the conflict–are occurring in many areas where coronavirus cases have been reported, notably in Herat, which has the most cases of confirmed COVID-19, due to the province’s proximity to Iran, the regional epicenter for the virus.
Afghanistan’s envoy to the UN, Adela Raz tweeted that following Tuesday’s Security Council meeting, council members on Wednesday called for a “comprehensive ceasefire,” in Afghanistan, “to reduce violence and ensure access of humanitarian aid throughout the country is not unduly hindered.”
The follows the UN secretary-general’s earlier call for a global ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.