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Calls for much-needed truce go awry; warring parties accuse one another of violating Doha pact

AT News

KABUL: Over the past few days, the Afghan government and the international community are strongly pushing for making the Taliban agree to a truce for the sake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan.

However, the Taliban have so far repetitively refused to declare ceasefire and have accused the American and NATO forces, as well as the Afghan government, of violating the agreement signed in Doha.

Meanwhile, national issues of coronavirus spread and of ensuring a humanitarian ceasefire aimed at delivering aid to needy people in war-hit areas were discussed in a two-day meeting organized by the State Ministry for Peace’s (SMP) high committee for coordinating peace efforts.

Spokeswoman for SMP, Najia Anwari, quoted Minister Abdul Salam Rahimy as saying: “Mobilization of the government’s efforts at the national, regional and international levels continues. The release of prisoners is part of this process that has begun for this purpose. The government will not miss any opportunity to secure a ceasefire, stop the war and prevent human massacre.”

Earlier, with the outset of COVID-19 in Afghanistan, the Taliban were urged to agree to a humanitarian truce for the purpose of reaching out and aiding the needy people. 

Similarly, the presidential spokesman Sidiq Sidiqqi in a statement on Sunday said the government had taken serious steps for bringing peace but the continued attacks by the Taliban showed the insurgent group was not committed to reducing violence

The call for a truce came from President Ashraf Ghani during his message on the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan when he asked the Taliban to observe ceasefire for the respect of the holy month and to support ongoing fight against coronavirus.

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad lend weight to the common call by tweeting: “Ramadan offers the Taliban an opportunity to embrace a humanitarian ceasefire to reduce violence and suspend offensive military operations until the health crisis is over.” He also asked the sides to accelerate the release of prisoners.

The truce push was also supported by the UN, NATO, OIC and some other countries and international organizations in their respective statements.

Nevertheless, the Taliban refused to declare ceasefire and blamed the other warring parties for violating the peace agreement signed in Doha in last February.

Zabiullah Mujahid, the group spokesman, said in a statement that American and internal officials continuously violated the peace agreement as common people lost their lives in daily bombings and night raids.

He said the Afghan government was not releasing their inmates threatened by coronavirus as per the agreement.

Mujahid claimed the Afghan government was insisting on demands unrelated to the peace agreement in order to divert attention away from the core issue at hand.

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