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Differences among Taliban over ceasefire demand

Sources suggest Taliban’s ruling council agreed to enforce a temporary ceasefire, while group’s spokesman said Taliban has no intention to do so

AT News

KABUL: There is conflicting reports coming out from Taliban leadership in regards to the ceasefire as the group did not scrutinize to be in the same page to declare a truce in a bid to facilitate for a possible peace deal with the US.

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid has strongly rejected reports that militant group has agreed to observe a brief ceasefire in Afghanistan—however, some sources reported that Taliban’s ruling council agreed to enforce a temporary ceasefire across Afghanistan.

For the past few days, a number of media outlets have been publishing false and baseless reports about a ceasefire by the Taliban, Mujahid said in a statement issued on Monday.

The reality of the situation is that the Taliban has no intention of declaring a ceasefire. The United States has asked for a reduction in the scale and intensity of violence, he added.

However, the Taliban’s ruling council agreed for ceasefire across Afghanistan, while it is unclear when the ceasefire would begin, AP reported the temporary cessation of hostilities would last 10 days.

Graeme Smith, a senior consultant at International Crisis Group told The National that the plan had been approved by Taliban leaders in Doha, where the Taliban has its office.

It was under consideration by the senior members of the insurgent group in Quetta, Pakistan, Mr. Smith said.

He said leaks from negotiators indicated that the deal was similar to that worked out by the US and the Taliban earlier in 2019.

“The leaks sound like in keeping with the theme we’re hearing, a copy-paste version of the same deal scuppered in September but with greater emphasis on reduction of violence,” Mr. Smith said.

Year-long talks between the Taliban and Washington came to an abrupt halt in September after US President Donald Trump called off the negotiations.

Mr. Trump’s decision followed a deadly attack by the insurgent group on compound in the Afghan capital of Kabul, in which a US soldier died.

This could be for the second time if truce successfully enforced. Last year there were three days of ceasefire across Afghanistan, and the people had celebrated Eid-day far from war and fear.

The government of Afghanistan has put ceasefire as pre-condition for the talks with the Taliban. The conflict in Afghanistan has been the world’s deadliest, and majority of the victims are civilians, including, women, and children. Figures collected by Armed Conflict Location and Event Data showed 44,000 people were killed in fighting in 2018. The UN mission in Afghanistan said 8,200 civilians were killed in the country since September this year.

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