Taliban says ceasefire only for Afghan forces
Ceasefire does not include foreign forces, and that they will defend themselves if attacked
The Taliban in Afghanistan has for the first time announced a three-day ceasefire over the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of this week, following a ceasefire announced by the government.
The armed group said on Saturday that the ceasefire would exclude foreign forces, and that it would defend itself against any attack.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had announced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban on Thursday, coinciding with the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan, but excluding groups such as ISIS.
Ghani’s decision came after a meeting of Islamic clerics declared a fatwa, or ruling, against suicide bombings, one of which, claimed by Islamic State, killed 14 people at the entrance to the clerics’ peace tent in Kabul.
It was not immediately clear when the Taliban ceasefire would begin, as Eid starts when the moon is first sighted on either the 29th or 30th day of Ramadan, and the moon appears at different times across the country.
Ghani has urged ceasefires with the Taliban before, but this was the first unconditional offer since he was elected in 2014.
Earlier the Taliban had said in a statement that the group made it clear to the US in its recent letter that “war is not our choice, rather it has been imposed upon us. For ending the occupation, we want a peaceful resolution to the Afghan issue.”
The statement noted that “it must now be established by America and her allies that the Afghan issue cannot be solved militarily.
“America must henceforth focus on a peaceful strategy for Afghanistan instead of war. Military strategies which have repeatedly been tested in Afghanistan over the past seventeen years will only intensify and prolong the war. And this is not in the interest of anyone.”
In January, after a wave of bombings which rocked Afghanistan lately, US President Donald Trump had ruled out any form of talks with the Afghan Taliban.
“Innocent people are being killed left and right” by the Taliban, he told the members of the UN Security Council at a White House lunch on Monday. “Bombing in the middle of children, in the middle of families — bombing, killing all over Afghanistan.”
“So there’s no talking to the Taliban,” he said. “We do not want to talk to the Taliban.”
“We’re going to finish what we have to finish,” he said while adding, “What nobody else has been able to finish, we’re going to be able to do it.”
In August, 2017, The Taliban called on President Donald Trump on Tuesday to review the strategy for the war in Afghanistan and to hold peaceful dialogue directly with Afghans instead of engaging “corrupt” politicians.
ALSO READ: Taliban call on Trump to leave Afghanistan
The Taliban, alternatively spelled Taleban, which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a ‘Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement’ in Afghanistan currently waging war (an insurgency, or jihad) within that country.
Until his death in 2013, Mullah Mohammed Omar was the supreme commander and spiritual leader of the Taliban. Mullah Akhtar Mansour was elected as his replacement in 2015, and following Mansour’s killing in a May 2016 U.S. drone strike, Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada became the group’s leader.
The Taliban negotiated and ‘asked’ Trump to study the “historical mistakes” of his predecessors and to withdraw troops from Afghanistan completely.