Afghans want ceasefire to continue beyond Eid

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

Kabul, (Asian independent) The announcement of the three-day Eid ceasefire by the Taliban has raised hopes among Afghans who have said that it should continue in order to begin the intra-Afghan negotiations and move the peace process forward.

“We hope that the three-day ceasefire turns into a permanent ceasefire,” a Kabul resident told TOLO News on Monday.

“We are in a hard situation. From one side we are plagued with the coronavirus crisis, and from the other we are faced with poverty,” said Zabihullah Malikzada, a Kabul resident.

As a goodwill gesture in response to the Taliban’s announcement made on May 23, the Afghan government pledged to release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners, and on Monday 200 Taliban detainees were released from Bagram prison, according to government officials.

“All Muslims around the world are tired of war, especially the suffering people of Afghanistan,” said another resident.

The ceasefire announcement was widely welcomed by Afghanistan’s allies.

The foreign ministers of Indonesia, Norway, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Germany in a joint statement on Sunday welcomed the move and said “the ceasefire is a positive step forward that gives cause for hope”.

“The Afghan people deserve an end to violence as well as a dignified peace and stability.

“We encourage the parties to take further steps in the days and weeks ahead in order to enter into, without delay, intra-Afghan negotiations aimed at securing a durable peace settlement that ends the conflict in Afghanistan,” the statement read.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also welcomed “the announcements by the Taliban to observe a three-day ceasefire for Eid and the Afghan government to reciprocate”.

“We worked hard to achieve this moment, and I hope that this respite from conflict gives Afghan people the space and security they deserve to celebrate Eid, while allowing the Taliban and the government the opportunity to take additional steps toward a peaceful future for their country,” he said.