Afghan forces to resume operations as historic ceasefire with Taliban ends
Afghan security forces are to resume operations as an unprecedented Eid holiday ceasefire with the Taliban comes to an end. President Ashraf Ghani noted that the landmark truce had proven that the militants are tired of war.
Ghani officially announced the end of the ceasefire on Saturday morning, saying that “the nation has shown they are ready for reconciliation,” as cited by TOLOnews channel. The president stated that many Taliban fighters now want peace and that the group is tired of war.
The Afghan leader, who has long been pushing for peace with the Taliban, once again called on the Islamic fundamentalist militants to join the peace process in the conflict-ravaged country. He said that the government wanted to convert the Taliban from a militant group into a political one.
The militants made a surprising statement earlier in June, saying that they would suspend hostilities with the government forces to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid. Their truce proposal excluded foreign forces in Afghanistan, however. This is the first time that the Taliban have ever extended an offer of this kind to the Afghan government.
A week after their announcement, dozens of unarmed Taliban members entered the Afghan capital on Saturday. Some of them even urged locals to come forward and take selfies with them.
National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar reacted to the cheerful selfies and hugs by saying that foreign countries and their intelligence agencies “have been keeping alive the flames of war in Afghanistan to reach their nefarious designs,” and that Afghan citizens under “no circumstances want the war to continue.”
The unexpected truce came two months after the group intensified its annual spring offensive, during which dozens of Afghan soldiers and officers were killed in heavy clashes.
The attacks continued even during the ceasefire. Last week, Taliban militants captured a military base in the western province of Badghis and killed 30 Afghan soldiers in what became their first major attack since the start of the truce.
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