Taliban rejects call for Ramadan ceasefire in Afghanistan – spokesman
The Taliban has rejected an Afghan government call for a ceasefire for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and to let authorities focus on tackling the coronavirus, Reuters reports.
Hopes for an end to Afghanistan’s decades of war were raised in late February when the Taliban and the US struck a deal on the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces in exchange for Taliban security guarantees. The deal did not include a ceasefire, which has been left to the US-backed government to negotiate with the insurgents.
A Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, tweeted that a ceasefire would be possible if the peace process was being implemented “fully” but “hurdles” meant the Taliban would not yet lay down their arms. “Asking for ceasefire is not rational and convincing,” Shaheen said late on Thursday.
President Ashraf Ghani called earlier in the day for the ceasefire for Ramadan, which began in Afghanistan on Friday, and to allow the country to focus on what he said was a critical novel coronavirus outbreak spreading all over the country.