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Truce extension sought to help start intra-Afghan talks

AT News

KABUL: The High Council for National Reconciliation said that it has conferred the extension of ceasefire with various aspects, following the three-day truce agreed between the government and Taliban during the Eid-al Adha, a Muslim holiday.

“The Afghans want the extension of truce,” Faridon Khawzon, a spokesman for the council said. “We have discussed the issue with Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy for Afghan peace and other several government administrations.” He said that the extension of the ceasefire would prompt people’s reliance on the peace process and it was considered to be a key step for beginning of intra-Afghan negotiations.

On the eve of Eid-al Adha, the government and Taliban agreed on a three-day ceasefire. However the ceasefire was followed with widespread security threats, a number of political figures and international organizations have welcomed the move and called for its extension.

Last week, the US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad in his meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed ceasefire and other issues related to the Afghan peace process.

Head of an entity, the national people peace movement, Iqbal Khaibar said, “There is no need to show ourselves victorious and greater with killing of people. If we really want to do our people a favor, we should halt killing.”

But the militants’ spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid said that the leadership has not made any decision regarding ceasefire extension and that the detail would be shared with the media if any progression was made.

For Afghans, the three-day ceasefire was a one of the rare moments to barely witness the enjoyment of a peaceful life.

“We are very happy about the ceasefire during Eid days and expect to reach a sustainable peace,” said a resident of central Ghazni province, Khair Mohammad. “We want the Taliban and government to extend the truce to lay out a peaceful life for people.”

However a day before the ceasefire a car bombing had killed and wounded dozens of civilians in the southeastern Logar province. Another attack in western Herat on the first day of Eid-al Adha, killed and wounded tens of innocent people. But the Taliban denied their involvement in the incidents.

The Taliban spokesman, Mujahid claimed that the militants have foiled an attack of the Afghan security forces and that the ceasefire was carrying on properly.

However, a number of civil rights activists and human rights organizations have praised the ceasefire and demanded the extension of truce, the government and Taliban has not announced any decision thus far. 

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