The Taliban has said the group was ready to declare a cease-fire in areas of Afghanistan under its control if they are hit by a coronavirus outbreak.
“If the outbreak happens in an area where we control the situation then we will stop fighting in that area,” said a Taliban spokesman in an interview with the Associated Press.
The Taliban have also said they would guarantee the security of health and aid workers traveling to their areas offering assistance to prevent the spread of the new virus.
Previously, Sohail Shahin, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, said on his Twitter page that the group was ready to work with global institutions and the World Health Organization to prevent the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the European Union, the United Nations and the Afghan government are calling for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further outbreaks of the coronavirus in the country.
However, this has not yet happened in practice.
In the latest incident, the Taliban killed six Afghan security forces in a clash with Afghan security forces in Badghis province.
The Coronavirus and the Opportunity of Ceasefire
The outbreak of coronavirus in China and later in Iran has forced countries around the world, including Afghanistan, to take precautionary measures.
After the Ministry of Public Health approved the first case of coronavirus in Herat province in western Afghanistan on December last year, fears of this global epidemic in Afghanistan increased.
The latest confirmed cases of coronavirus in Afghanistan has risen to 239, 10 recovered and four deaths.
The Coronavirus’s map in Afghanistan includes the western regions of Afghanistan (Herat with 184 cases and 3 deaths in the first line) and then Kabul with (18 cases).
The unknown virus is still in its infancy in Afghanistan, and the country may be in more crisis in the coming days.
However, there is hope that the groups involved in the war in Afghanistan will understand the severity of this unknown crisis and turn to practical solutions to combat and counter this global threat.
Although the Taliban are in the process of engaging in the war, it seems that the rapid spread of the Coronavirus has now put the Taliban in a position to talk little about the ceasefire; a ceasefire that has long been a dream of the Afghan people.
The experience of other countries
Although the rapid spread of the coronavirus in a country like Afghanistan is catastrophic and will have dire consequences, it seems that Afghanistan is doing something different in terms of war and peace. Of course, this is not only the case in Afghanistan, but the experience of other countries have shown that with the occurrence of natural disasters, the chances of ceasefire and peace have increased and the groups involved in the war have come closer to each other and finally reached to a relative peace.
For example, the ceasefire of the Aceh Rebellion Group with the Indonesian government after the 2004 earthquake. And also the suggestion of the rebel group Tamil Tigers to fight the tsunami damage with the Sri Lankan government, which was not possible under normal circumstances.
The Taliban have been at war with the Afghan government and US-led coalition forces for nearly two decades since the group’s Islamic Emirate collapsed. So far, no lasting peace or ceasefire has been reached between the Afghan government and the Taliban, but the group has recently signed a peace agreement with the United States and finally the start of intra-Afghan peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Therefore, there are hopes that the ceasefire in certain areas will expand its scope and pave the way for a lasting ceasefire and peace in Afghanistan.
Zackaria Noori contributed reporting.