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Senate warns against a brief truce with Taliban

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KABUL: The upper house of parliament or Meshrano Jirga on Tuesday said the US must adhere to its commitments concerning paving way for intra-Afghan negotiations and establishing a ceasefire as part of the peace process with the Taliban.

The Senate First Deputy Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezidyar during Tuesday’s general session in response to the Taliban’s rejection of any ceasefire agreement, said: “We hope the US would remain committed to the terms of signing a peace agreement with the Taliban.”

US Point-man for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in a meeting with a Senate delegation had previously said that launching the intra-Afghan talks and achieving a truce were the fundamental conditions of the US-Taliban talks. He had also promised that if these terms weren’t met by the Taliban, he wouldn’t ink a peace deal with them.

Deputy Chairman Ezidyar emphasized that Khalilzad should walk the talk and mustn’t sign a peace deal with rebels unless they agree to the terms.

He said the peace process should entail a permanent armistice, no matter what the cost. “A sustainable and just peace is only achievable through a permanent ceasefire.”

Ezidyar warned against a temporary truce, saying it would further worsen the situation. “Afghans fear a short-term ceasefire because the level of security forces and civilian casualties would increase as soon as it ends.”

On the other hand, some other legislators dubbed Khalilzad’s efforts in the peace process as unproductive, stressing that so long as the US administration didn’t pressurize Pakistan, the Taliban wouldn’t agree to peace.

Senator Mohiuddin Munsif said: “The Taliban delegation’s visit to Pakistan wasn’t aimed at consulting with the group’s leaders but for seeking permission and taking orders from the Pakistani intelligence agency, which didn’t allow them to agree to a ceasefire.”

However, Senator Rahmatullah Achakzai said: “The US isn’t a sincere country when it comes to alliances. If the government and people of Afghanistan don’t pay heed in this regard, the peace process will not prove beneficial for our country.”

Meanwhile, some other lawmakers while pointing to the recent differences among the political leaders, said the Afghan politico lacked a consensus regarding peace and that they shouldn’t prefer personal interests over national ones so that the 40-year-old war in the country finally comes to an end.

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