(Kabul) The Afghans on Wednesday welcomed the announcement of a three-day ceasefire that should come into effect on Friday, but want a lasting peace, the day after the speech of their president, Ashraf Ghani, for whom negotiations with the Taliban could begin very soon.
France Media Agency
“We want peace forever! Ali, a Kabul trader, responded to AFP. “We have the right to live in peace, like other countries, we want our country to develop. We are, young and old, tired of this war ”.
This ceasefire, decreed by the Taliban on Tuesday and to which the government subsequently gave its approval, is the third in 13 years of war, the insurgents having rejected numerous calls from Kabul to lay down their arms. It is to come into force on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the feast of the Sacrifice traditionally marked by family reunions.
Mr. Ghani's spokesperson, Sediq Sediqqi, however, stressed that this truce was not enough.
“The people of Afghanistan demand a lasting ceasefire and the start of direct talks between the Taliban and the government,” he told AFP.
The head of state said on Tuesday that peace negotiations with the rebels could start “in a week”.
M me Fawzia Koofi, a member of the government negotiators, meanwhile wrote on Twitter “hope for a permanent ceasefire”.
The United States, which has wanted such a breakthrough since they signed a historic agreement with the Taliban at the end of February, “welcomed the announcements of a ceasefire” and called for “quickly” start inter-Afghan talks.
“We hope that Eid al-Adha […] will constitute one more step towards a lasting peace”, commented on Twitter Zalmay Khalilzad, the American special envoy in Afghanistan, who arrived in Kabul on Wednesday , as part of a tour of the region aimed at advancing the peace process.
A Bloody War 5000
“All the mujahideen […] are ordered not to carry out operations against the enemy during the three days and nights of Eid el-Adha”, announced Tuesday in a press release. word of the Taliban Zabihullah Mujahid.
The Afghan government shortly thereafter “ordered all security and defense forces to respect the ceasefire”.
The Taliban had signaled last week that they were ready to engage in talks with Kabul as soon as Eid ended.
These inter-Afghan negotiations were initially supposed to take place from 07 March, but this date was exceeded due in particular to a stagnation in the process of exchanging prisoners, the completion of which is required as a prerequisite by the rebels.
The American-Taliban agreement in fact provides for the release by the Afghan authorities of 5000 insurgents and that by the latter of 1000 members of the security forces.
“The Islamic Republic will soon complete the release of 5000 Taliban prisoners”, for his part said on Tuesday Mr. Ghani in his speech at the presidential palace.
In the meantime, the clashes continued, the rebels having almost daily attacked soldiers or police.
Result, 2020 military and 775 civilians killed in five months, according to Kabul.
According to many observers, the continuing violence shows that the Taliban actually want to take control of Afghanistan and reveals the inability of the United States to prevent it.
The US-Taliban agreement “was not concluded to bring peace to Afghanistan, but to allow the Americans to save face and facilitate the departure of their troops”, explained Nishak Motwani, a specialist in strategy and security working in the Afghan capital.
“The Taliban really think they are going to win,” he added.