U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad once again urged the Afghan government and the Taliban to call for a ceasefire and asked them to unite against their “common enemy” after the Islamic State (Daesh)-claimed attack on Kabul University left at least 22 people dead.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Khalilzad offered his condolences to the victims of the attack and said:
“This barbaric attack is not an opportunity for the government and the Taliban to score points against each other. There is a common enemy here.”
“Deny ISIS or any other terrorist the space to carry out these inhumane acts. Unite for peace, find a path to a ceasefire, and accelerate a political settlement. These steps would be the right response to this unspeakable barbarism,” Khalilzad said.
The envoy also said the perpetrators of such attacks are not just “against education but are pro-ignorance.”
“They want to breed chaos and instability, terror and poverty. They oppose and fear peace and seek a permanent state of war.”
However, Afghan leaders have spoken about the Taliban’s culpability in the attack, with President Ashraf Ghani vowing revenge against the perpetrators.
In a televised speech that aired on Monday night, Ghani offered his condolences to those who died in the “legitimate and sacred path of pursuing knowledge” and remembered his time as a lecturer and chancellor at Kabul University.
“We convey a clear message to all terrorist groups, including Taliban, that such acts of terror and atrocity can never deter the resolve of steel of the Afghan nation for a peaceful, stable and thriving Afghanistan.”
He added: “We will take revenge for this senseless attack and for any drop of innocent students’ blood spilled today. Our heroic defence and security forces will chase you, find you at any corner and wipe you out.”
National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, who visited Kabul University late on Monday, said the Taliban cannot escape from the responsibility of the attack with just a statement.
Mohib added that whether the Taliban accept it or not, they are primarily responsible for the killings and civilian casualties of the attack, and promised to avenge the victims.
Chief Afghan peace negotiator Masoom Stanekzai also stated that the “main source of attack in the same, but it has different branches.”
Stanekzai, who is in Doha for the negotiations with the Taliban, said that if the militant group was committed to ending the war, then they should take action.
“If the Taliban are committed to ending the brutal killings, they must agree to an immediate ceasefire and cut off the hands of the enemy who are holding Afghan people by their necks.”
Condemning the Kabul University attack, Stanekzai said, “No one can acquit himself of such murder and terror.”