Fortunately in war-ravaged Afghanistan, the despondency over the increasing number of coronavirus infections – hovering above 11,000 now – was offset by the announcement of a 3-day truce among the warring parties in view of the Eid-ul-Fitr occasion. The double whammy of intensified war and coronavirus pandemic claiming numerous lives are what that had robbed the country of whatever little joy had been left. But the truce was something that gave people seemingly a short-lived sigh of relief. Also, it was something that received a warm welcome on a national and international levels, in addition to serving as a confidence-building measure for the parties into conflict. It’s because the conducive atmosphere of confidence prompted the Afghan government to inform of its decision to release 2,000 Taliban prisoners – of which 1,000 inmates have already been released with the latest 900-member batch coming on Tuesday – as a gesture of goodwill. The ceasefire, only the second of its kind in the 19-year-old conflict, has revived hopes of Afghan masses regarding an extended truce that could pave the way for long-awaited peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. This latest step observed by the sides is laudable as it paved the ground for an accelerated prisoner swap besides being a reason for Afghans to cherish and spend the Eid days in a relatively calm environment. As the ceasefire expires on Tuesday, the Afghan government has already expressed its intent to extend it while urging the Taliban to reciprocate the move. Considering how much progress could be made through this move, it’s only reasonable for the Taliban to agree to an extension. This is while the Taliban militants have reportedly agreed to prolong the ceasefire for another four days or more. However, this armistice should turn into a permanent one because it’s the call of Afghan masses, the international community and the Afghan government. Also, in the wake of the ongoing global health crisis which is taking lives indiscriminately on an unprecedented level, truces around the world have been announced by many belligerent parties. Therefore, if the ceasefire is extended – everybody’s heart’s desire now – it’s only a matter of time that the peace process arrives at a turning point and a solution is found to Afghanistan war’s entangled knot once and for all.
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