Taliban council agrees to temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan
This was demanded by the United States as a condition for the signing of the peace agreement.
KABUL – Taliban ruling council agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan on Sunday, opening the door for a peace deal with the United States.
This was reported by representatives of the group, without specifying when a ceasefire could begin, the announcement of which was demanded by Washington as a condition for signing a peace agreement..
A peace deal would allow the United States to bring its troops home from Afghanistan and end 18 years of military intervention in that country, the longest in American history..
No reaction from Washington has yet followed.
The US believes that any agreement must include a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for terrorist groups. Currently, there are approximately 12 thousand American troops in Afghanistan..
The ceasefire must be approved by the Taliban chief, but it is expected to do so. The duration of the ceasefire was not specified, but it was expected to last 10 days. It was also not specified when the truce will begin..
Four Taliban negotiators met with the ruling council for a week before agreeing to a brief ceasefire. On Sunday, the negotiators returned to Qatar, where the movement’s political office is located, and where US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding talks with the Taliban since September 2018..
The dialogue was broken off in September when the parties appeared to be on the verge of signing a peace agreement. However, a spike in violence in Kabul, where an American soldier was killed, prompted Donald Trump to declare the deal “dead.” Talks resumed after Trump unexpectedly arrived in Afghanistan at the end of November and announced that the Taliban were ready to negotiate and agree to reduce the level of violence..
Khalilzad returned to Doha in early December, after which he offered to temporarily end the fighting to pave the way for the signing of the agreement. This is stated by Taliban representatives familiar with the negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity, since they were not authorized to discuss the situation with journalists..
The US and the Taliban have been trying to work out an agreement for over a year. Its key element should be direct negotiations between Afghans from both sides of the conflict..
These intra-Afghan talks are to take place within two weeks of the US-Taliban peace agreement, and determine the post-war future of Afghanistan..
The first item on the agenda is expected to be the implementation of the ceasefire between the Taliban and the national security forces. It is assumed, however, that the negotiations will be difficult and will touch on a number of sensitive issues, including women’s rights, freedom of speech and amendments to the country’s constitution..
Intra-Afghan talks will also determine the fate of thousands of Taliban fighters and heavily armed militias under the command of Afghan warlords. These warlords have concentrated wealth and power in their hands after the Taliban was ousted from power in 2001 by a US-led coalition, after Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, carried out the 9/11 attacks in the United States. 2001 year. The Taliban harbored bin Laden, although nothing indicates that they knew about Al Qaeda’s plans to attack the United States.
Even amid Taliban announcements of a cessation of hostilities on Sunday, militants launched an attack in northern Afghanistan that killed at least 17 local militias..
Apparently, the attack was directed against the local militia commander, who was not injured. This was announced by the governor of Takhar province, where the attack took place..
Local Afghan militias mainly operate in remote areas and report to the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid announces movement claims responsibility for attack.
Last week, an American soldier was killed in the fighting in Kunduz province in the north of the country. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a fatal roadside bombing against US and Afghan forces in Kunduz. The US military said the soldier was not killed by the detonation of an improvised explosive device, but was killed by capturing a Taliban weapons cache.
The U.S. military reported in its daily combat report that 13 Taliban fighters were killed in air strikes on Sunday night across the country..
The Taliban and the Afghan National Security Forces attack each other every day. At the same time, the latter are supported by American aviation..
Afghan and American forces, as well as government officials, are frequently targeted by the Taliban. However, many Afghan civilians are also killed in crossfire or roadside bombs planted by militants. The UN called on all parties to the conflict to reduce the number of civilian casualties. The World Organization said an increase in US airstrikes and ground operations by the Afghan National Security Forces, as well as incessant Taliban attacks, have resulted in an increase in civilian casualties..
Last year, the war in Afghanistan became the bloodiest conflict in the world.