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20 May, 2021 13:49

Tribal elders secure month-long ceasefire between Taliban and Afghan government after international mediators fail

Tribal elders secure month-long ceasefire between Taliban and Afghan government after international mediators fail

Afghan tribal elders have successfully negotiated a ceasefire between Taliban fighters and the country’s government, effecting a pause in the intense fighting that’s occurred ahead of America’s withdrawal from the region.

The agreement, signed by local representatives, was negotiated by elders in the Alingar district to allow farmers to harvest their crops and students to complete their exams safely, and will remain in place until June 21.

Speaking after the ceasefire was negotiated, one of the elders, Qari Nabi Sarwar, said it was necessary because “the Taliban and Afghan forces were fingers-on-triggers, looking for a small excuse to fire at each other.”

One resident praised the elders for managing to negotiate a halt to the fighting when global leaders had failed to do so. “A ceasefire has been something the world’s most powerful countries were trying to establish in Afghanistan, but unfortunately, couldn’t,” Jaber Alkozai told reporters on Wednesday.

Tribal figures had sought to secure a break in the fighting over concerns that farmers in the district would otherwise have lost another year of wheat, with crops in previous years being destroyed by stray rockets and ammunition.

In the wake of the agreement, a spokesperson for the provincial governor of Laghman, the province in which Alingar is located, stated that officials were working with the elders in the hope of expanding the ceasefire into other areas and turning it into a permanent agreement.

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Fighting has increased in Afghanistan in recent weeks, after the United States and its NATO allies announced they would be completely withdrawing troops from the country later in 2021, having been present for nearly two decades.

Despite efforts led by the US in the lead-up to their withdrawal, no progress has been made by Western nations on securing a ceasefire or peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government, sparking concerns that insurgent attacks will spike when NATO forces leave the country.

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