Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Who Wins and Loses From Eid Ceasefire Deal?

An unconditional cease-fire with the Taliban was announced by the Ashraf Ghan, the Afghan President, Thursday, July 7 last week and in a surprise move the Taliban announced a 3 day ceasefire during the Eidul Fitr, on Saturday, this week, but they excluded the international forces from the ceasefire.
What makes this announcement unique is that it is the first time the Afghan Taliban accepts a ceasefire initiated by the Afghan government, since 17 years ago when the Taliban regime was toppled by the international community and the United national Front in 2001.
The deal is unique in that it was announced before the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an institution many analysts see it as a strategic cooperation platform among the regional countries including India and Pakistan. Many political analysts see the war in Afghanistan as a proxy war between various regional rivals, including India and Pakistan. This Edi ceeasfire announcement came just on the same day, June 9, that the heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) gathered in Qingdao to mark the group’s 18th anniversary. It was the fourth time that the annual summit was held in China, and the first outside of Shanghai (2001 and 2006) and Beijing (2012). Shanghai Cooperation Organization, after nearly two decades, now boasts eight full members, four observers, and six “dialogue partners;” a permanent secretariat in Beijing; and a security outpost in Tashkent. The SCO presents itself as a multilateral organization of equal and diverse sovereign members, making the Qingdao summit an important moment to reflect on the organization’s trajectory, achievements, and enduring challenges.
President Ashraf Ghani on June 6 that, said:“ China is a global pillar of international peace and stability and that Beijing must play more inclusive role in stabilizing Afghanistan and the region”. He added that, “China today is a pillar of global stability. China has taken a huge role in making the stability of the global economy possible, and of course, with a series of initiatives, the most important of which is the One Belt One Road,”. Based on this request and considering the ground realities in Afghanistan, President Xi proposed SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group in order to give a full play to the role of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group to facilitate peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan. In addition, the Taliban and other terrorist groups have recently become powerful in Afghanistan particularly in the northern parts of the country bordering with Tajikistan and some other neighboring countries. If these terrorist groups make their way to the neighboring countries of Afghanistan, they will pose serious threats to the SCO members. Based on this, all CSO members including China require expanding their cooperation with Afghanistan to address this issue strategically. In this context, the SCO-contact Group should initiate its cooperation between the member countries the soonest possible. Because, as the government of Afghanistan has always emphasized, terrorist groups are not only the enemies of Afghanistan, but they threaten all the countries, especially the neighboring countries of Afghanistan. As a result, no country will benefit from supporting the terrorist groups in the long run, even some countries gain short period benefits from supporting these terrorist groups. Therefore, as the SCO becomes stronger, its regional and international role increases as well.  As a result, the SCO member states have an increasingly need for security, stability and regional prosperity. If the SCO member states want to play their regional and internal roles duly, ensuring security, stability and regional prosperity, they should first address those issues that affect them directly. This goal only can be ensured if the SCO member states recognize Afghanistan’s security and stability as the first challenge to be addressed by the SCO. Doing so, they should put the neighboring countries of Afghanistan under pressure to end their supports to the terrorist groups including the Afghan Taliban terrorist group.
The surprise Eid Ceasfire by the Taliban group was shocking for many observers. As it is the first time the group accepts a ceasefire, analysts mentioned different reasons for such a surprise move by the group. However, some analysts hold that considering the coincidence of the announcement with SCO meeting and the strategic partnership between China and Pakistan from one side  and the new role the regional and international community expects from China in general and from SCO in specific, the Taliban group may have accepted the ceasefire under pressure of Pakistan While Pakistan itself may have been pressured by China or SCO to initiate the ceasefire to signal a new approach to the prolong conflict in Afghanistan aligned with the Shanghai new regional and international role in addressing the regional and international conflicts.