Ceasefire Is Not Reasonable For The Taliban: Does The Peace Process Face Deadlock?

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Ceasefire Is Not Reasonable For The Taliban: Does The Peace Process Face Deadlock?

26 Apr 2020

Since the signing of the US-Taliban peace agreement, 2,804 attacks have been carried out on Afghan security forces by the Taliban group, killing and injuring 789 civilians.

“More than 2,700 Taliban insurgents have been killed and wounded by Afghan security forces since the US peace deal with the Taliban,” Javed Faisal, a spokesman for the Office of National Security Council (NSC) said in a press conference on Saturday.

During the past week, 309 Taliban fighters have been killed and 210 wounded in clashes with Afghan security and defense forces.

 Peace Tweet

In the meantime, all three sides in the Afghanistan conflict are emphasizing peace talks, as Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, wrote in his latest tweet that the Ramadan month will give the Taliban a chance to accept ceasefire to reduce violence until the end of the Coronavirus crisis. Khalilzad called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to speed up the process of releasing prisoners. However, there is no guarantee that the liberated Taliban will not return to the battlefields and will not take up arms against the Afghan security forces.

Government’s Priority?

The US peace deal with the Taliban set a timetable for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the start of intra-Afghan peace talks in Afghanistan. But the political crisis resulting from the presidential election and the outbreak of the Coronavirus have disrupted all the pre-arranged programs. Nearly a month and a half passed after the signing of the US peace agreement with the Taliban, 5,000 Taliban prisoners have not yet been fully released by the Afghan government, there is no clear picture of the US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Taliban violence continues as usual.

The intra-Afghan peace talks in Afghanistan is also in a state of ambiguity. However, President Ashraf Ghani on the occasion of the beginning of Ramadan month said in a statement that “the Afghan people and government want the Taliban to honor the holy month of Ramadan in such a critical situation that the coronavirus spread in all across the country. We urge them to respond positively for holding a ceasefire and stop the violence against the Muslim people of Afghanistan and lead a peaceful life.”

However, it seems that peace is not the government’s top priority; first the political crisis, then the Coronavirus crisis and then maybe the peace process.

The War Is Reasonable For The Taliban

The Taliban, however, have traditionally considered the continuation of violence and war in such a situation that the crisis has put pressure on the Afghan government and people in every way.  As Sohail Shahin, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, wrote on his Twitter page in response to the Afghan government’s request for a ceasefire:  “It’s not very reasonable.”

On the other hand, the peace process seems to have stalled in various ways, as there is no coherence and capacity within the Afghan government for peace talks, as the political crisis in Kabul is deeper than all sides in the conflict. Therefore, despite all the efforts that are being made, the peace process has practically come to a stalemate.

Zackaria Noori contributed reporting.

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