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Editorial: Brief truce turned deadly

In the past 17 years, there was nothing joyful ever than images of Taliban members posing for selfies, eating ice cream and hugging tearful Afghan soldiers and praying alongside them. For the first time, the Afghan government and the Taliban agreed on a ceasefire. Indeed the ongoing conflict has made Afghanistan one of the most violent places on the planet. The three-day halt to hostilities have provided a glimmer of hope for the peace process which has achieved little in past years since its initiation. President Ashraf Ghani extended the ceasefire for another ten days. But Taliban rejected truce extension rather resumed attacks in most brutal way. The extremist group staged a flurry of rural attacks that left dozens of security forces killed and wounded. However, the Afghan forces are in state of defense, honoring the ceasefire, showing how eager the populace is for peace. However, the success of the brief but bloodless ceasefire is being widely viewed as watershed in the war, as they (Talban leaders) still feel they have the upper hand on the battlefield and therefore are in no rush to talk. The soonest ceasefire called off, Taliban fighters carried out several deadly attacks, one of them was against checkpoints in western Badghis province, in which 30 Afghan soldiers killed—likewise in several other provinces. The recent one was a multiple attack on outposts of Afghan security forces in Jalriz district of Maidan Wardak. Hundreds of Taliban militant assaulted checkpoints, killing scores of security forces and took hostage 90 others along with their weapons and ammunition. This embarks darkest side of the war and failure of ceasefire turning fatal. Furthermore, it exhibited the most vicious face of Taliban fighters that even turned blind eyes over emotional greetings of Afghan civilians, the one who lost their dearest and nearest ones in their numerous terrorist attacks. Intensification of war already dashed to ground all hopes pinned following ceasefire. Still, despite incidents of violence, the door of peace is open. Also the recent remarks by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Imam of Kaaba has opened new chapter to be hopeful over resumption of peace talks with Taliban with accepting ceasefire soon.  There is no denial to the fact that inner circles within Taliban group who are creating obstacles to hamper their peace approach. They come out to public, showed Taliban local fighter’s willingness to end war. But announcement of punishment for those Taliban members who took selfies, have brought up aggressive intension of Taliban leadership who sit in Pakistan. Realizing real face of their leaders which is nothing but continuation of war, benefiting none, local Taliban members should take the zeal to lay down their arms and join their brothers and sisters to resuscitate and rebuild Afghanistan through peace, unity and national solidarity.

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