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UN Welcomes Three-Day Ceasefire Announcement By Afghan Government And Taliban During Eid

by GoNews Desk 11 months ago Views 1470

The UN Secretary-General has welcomed the announcement by the Afghan Government and the Taliban of a ceasefire to mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims around the world.

UN Welcomes Three-Day Ceasefire Announcement By Af
The UN Secretary-General has welcomed the announcement by the Afghan Government and the Taliban of a ceasefire to mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims around the world.

Hours before the three-day festival of Eid al-Fitr was due to begin, Taliban militants made the unexpected declaration that they would attack only if their positions were hit, leading President Ashraf Ghani to welcome the move shortly afterwards, and release a statement saying security and defence forces would comply.


It marks just the second time during the nearly 20-year period since Taliban extremists were removed from power, following the US-led invasion of the country, that a brief ceasefire has been agreed. There was widespread rejoicing on the first occasion – again to mark the end of Ramadan – in 2018, as Taliban fighters mingled in the capital and elsewhere, some hugging and posting for selfies with security forces.

But this time, Taliban fighters have been ordered not to enter government-controlled territory.

The truce comes after an escalation in attacks in recent weeks by the Taliban against the backdrop of stalled peace efforts, and violence from other extremist elements, including ISIL.

In an address to the nation following Eid prayers on Sunday, President Ghani announced a further “step forward”, to accelerate the release of Taliban prisoners; something which has been a stumbling block in efforts to finally bring the Taliban and government into direct talks, following a US-Taliban deal signed in February.

‘Seize this opportunity’

“The Secretary-General urges all parties concerned to seize this opportunity and embrace an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process” said the statement on Saturday night from UN chief António Guterres.

“Only a peace settlement can bring an end to the suffering in Afghanistan. The United Nations is committed to supporting the people and Government of Afghanistan in this important endeavour”, he continued.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), also welcomed the move, saying on Twitter that “the Afghan people deserve a respite from violence. The UN urges parties to respect the halt to fighting and urgently look to make it permanent. Intra-Afghan peace negotiations need to start.”

Powerful ‘reason to hope’

The head of the mission, and UN Special Representative, Deborah Lyons, who took up the top job just last month, declared the announced a “reason to hope” and a welcome move.

She noted that it also echoed the call from the UN Secretary-General for a ceasefire to focus on “the new enemy”, the coronavirus.

Cases in Afghan, according to the latest World Health Organization figures, stand at more than 9,860, with 211 recorded deaths.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs also issued a statement on the ceasefire between the two sides.

"India welcomes the understanding reached for a ceasefire in Afghanistan for three days during the Eid," the MEA said.

"We hope that this ceasefire would extend further and become permanent to address the dire humanitarian situation resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and pave the way for durable peace and stability for the people of Afghanistan," it said in a statement.

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