• Today
    September 25

  • 12:02 AM

Afghanistan's Ghani announces his first ceasefire with Taliban

REUTERS,

Added 07 June 2018

ashraf-ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (FILE)

KABUL – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced for the first time an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban, coinciding with the end of the Muslim fasting month, but excluding other militant groups, such as Islamic State.

The decision came after a meeting of Islamic clerics this week declared a fatwa, or ruling, against suicide bombings, one of which, claimed by Islamic State, killed 14 people at the entrance to the clerics’ peace tent in Kabul, the capital.

The clerics also recommended a ceasefire with the Taliban, who are seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their ouster in 2001, and Ghani endorsed the recommendation, announcing a laying down of arms until June 20.

Ghani has urged ceasefires with the Taliban before, but this was the first unconditional offer since he was elected in 2014.

“This ceasefire is an opportunity for Taliban to introspect (sic) that their violent campaign is not winning them hearts and minds,” Ghani said in a message on social network Twitter after a televised address.

There was no immediate reaction from the Taliban but an international political analyst based in Kabul was unimpressed.

“It’s a one-sided love story,” he said.

US Forces-Afghanistan said they would honour the ceasefire.

“We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict,” Gen. John Nicholson, US Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support commander, said in a statement.

The ceasefire would not include US counterterrorism efforts against Islamic State and al Qaeda, it said.

A NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was “really not too much to say” from NATO’s point of view.

“It is completely Afghan-originated and, as you know, it is our policy to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process,” he told reporters.

Former Afghan army general Atiqullah Amarkhel said the ceasefire would give the Taliban a chance to regroup.

“From a military prospect, it is not a good move,” he told Reuters.

He also said he doubted the Taliban would lay down arms and deny themselves the opportunity of fighting during the holy month of Ramadan, in which attacks have intensified.

The Eid al-Fitr holiday ending Ramadan falls at the end of next week.

Ghani in February offered recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group in a proposed political process that he said could lead to talks to end more than 16 years of war.

Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners among options including new elections involving the militants and a constitutional review in a pact with the Taliban to end a conflict that last year alone killed or wounded more than 10 000 civilians.

In August, US President Donald Trump unveiled a more hawkish military approach to Afghanistan, including a surge in air strikes, aimed at forcing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Afghan security forces say the impact has been significant, but the Taliban roam huge swaths of the country and, with foreign troop levels of about 15 600, down from 140 000 in 2014, there appears little hope of outright victory. (Reuters)

 

 

 

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Barbados has introduced e-passports which feature biometric chips embedded in them. Do you think this will increase security and ease travel?

Yes
No
Not sure

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM