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Editorial: Ceasefire, the hidden face of violence

During the three-day national ceasefire for Eid, the blood of innocent Afghans kept bleeding – the hope for at least three days of calmness faded away after an explosive device placed inside a mosque in Kabul detonated on the second day of truce that killed at least 12 worshippers. The news of killing kept coming from other provinces as well – five civilians were killed on Thursday, among them children, in a roadside bomb in Kandahar – an explosion in Kunduz also killed two civilians, including a child. The Afghans hoped to take streets and roadways to visit the relatives in restive and conflicting areas across the country. Nothing such happened, as many Afghans feared despite the ceasefire declared by both sides. Though it was the fourth such ceasefire since 2018, this time it was the most deadly and bloody one. The past truces were observed in its true spirits – nobody ever had expected that the militant groups would pick up violence this time, perishing many innocent lives during Eid days. The security environment has worsened to such an extent that embassies are advising their citizens to keep a low profile and avoid public places. The Afghans are also concerned that violence likely to spike further and insurgents will not again dither to attack innocent and helpless school students. Foreigners can leave the country anytime they want, but what about the Afghans as they are facing an ever more uncertain and unsettled future. Violations of the ceasefire resulted in multiple civilian casualties – 21 people lost their lives and 33 others injured, the violations committed by the Taliban in 18 provinces. The irony is that the insurgent groups, even the Taliban, a group the Afghan and American are trying to make peace with, have been emboldened and thinking of military victory. The perception generated after US President Joe Biden announced September as exit date for US troops. Since then, Afghanistan has seen a spike in deadly Taliban assaults that has led to mounting casualties on the innocent Afghan civilians. Afghan security forces and the Taliban insurgents also suffered casualties. Still there is a chance for peace as already the Afghan and Taliban peace delegation members met in Doha after a long pause, highlighting the need to expedite the peace process as an only way to end the deadly conflict through a political settlement and compromise. As Afghanistan is in its defining situation, it’s time to test everyone’s resolve for a stable and prosperous country at a time when the foreigners are about to leave.

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