Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Only the Dead Will See the End of the War in Afghanistan

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Only the Dead Will See the  End of the War in Afghanistan

After three-day ceasefire, Taliban have announced to restart warbut President Ghani declared another 10-day truce. Government officials are still hopeful that the initiative could lead to the resumption of the stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. “The warm welcome by the people indicates that the peace has become a collective and national demand, we hope to pave the way for durable peace with collective efforts,” said President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman Shahhussain Murtazawi. Nonetheless, many experts believe that sustainable peace is not possible unless therootfactors are not rooted out. In the other words, the current war in Afghanistan is neither a religious war and nor a national war. If it was a religious war, it would not ignore the fatwa of 20,00 religious scholars and if it was a national war it would not massacre hundreds of civilians throughout the country.
As soon as Taliban announced their refusal to extend the truce,they have staged similar attacks in Helmand, Ghazni, Badghes, and Kunduz provinces. Taking responsibility for these attacks, Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban spokesman, tweeted that at least 27 security forces were killed in these offensives dubbed as part of the ‘al-Khandaq’ spring offensives.In addition, The Taliban militants were also blamed for violation of the three-day ceasefire in Ghazni province on the third day of Eid.According to the statement released by Ghazni governor’s office, the insurgents have broken their commitment and kidnapped six army soldiers in Andar district of the province on Sunday as governmental forces and Taliban were celebrating Eid days. Moreover,the militants have seized a Humvee from Sultan Bagh area of the district.The statement added that Afghan forces respected the ceasefire announced by President Ashraf Ghani and didn’t reciprocate while a large number of armed militants were walking freely in the areas under the government control.
Furthermore,an explosion in the Eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens on Sunday.Thisblasthappened outside the regional governor’s office in Jalalabad city after a suicide bomber killed at least 36 people, including civilians, government forces and Taliban fighters, on Saturday at an Eid gathering in the same province.No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack but the one on Saturday was claimed by the local affiliate of the ISIL group. As quoted from Najibullah Kamawal, Nangarhar provincial health director, “the death toll could rise because some of the wounded are in a serious condition.”
On the other hand, the governmenthave released 46 Taliban prisonersto show its good-will to Taliban and peace processand others may release in next few days.Thus, people from all parts of the country have warmly welcomed the Taliban peace approaches and called all warring sides to find a real way to end the fruitless conflicts. Taliban were allowed to visit their friends and families without any fear. Thousands of them flocked into the cities and also over 2,500 of them (Taliban) came into Kabul seeing that all of the people are serious about peace, especiallythey saw a group of peacemarchers, all men, including teachers, students and war victims on crutches and one in a wheelchair who have just arrived Kabul after trekking some 700 kilometers on foot for almost 40 days calling for an end to Afghanistan’s nearly 17-year war. They also heard the voice of the women who poured out on to the streets in the provincial capital of Lashkargah and welcomed the Taliban with bunches of flowers and asked the group to extend their ceasefire. 
As usual, Taliban persist that that they will not hold talks with the Afghan government but they are ready to hold direct negotiations with the United States in the first phase.They say that they are not fighting to seek any share in the government but want foreign invaders should abandon Afghanistan. “We want to know if and when the US and its allies plan to leave Afghanistan? If we reach any understanding with the US then the next phase will be discussions with Afghans about the future setup,” he said, adding: “Taliban will not impose themselves on Afghans and favor inclusive setup with participation of all sides.The Taliban had long been pressing for direct talks with the US and their supreme leader Maulvi Haibtullah had also reiterated the same stance in his Eid message. “The invading American party must realize and understand reality of the situation, stop senseless stubbornness, sit directly for dialogue with the Islamic Emirate to find a solution to the ongoing imbroglio and withdraw their occupying forces from Afghanistan,” a Taliban statement said.
The US wants the Taliban to sit with the Afghan leaders; however, senior American officials have shown little change in their position and express willingness to join talks with the Taliban and the Afghan government. “We support President Ghani’s offer to extend the ceasefire and begin peace talks. As President Ghani emphasized in his statement to the Afghan people, peace talks by necessity would include a discussion of the role of international actors and forces. The United States is prepared to support, facilitate and participate in these discussions,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said on June 16.“The United States stands ready to work with the Afghan government, the Taliban, and all the people of Afghanistan to reach a peace agreement and political settlement that brings a permanent end to this war,” Pompeo had said.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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