By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan and United States of America have welcomed the announcement of a three-day ceasefire by the Taliban and the Afghan government during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.
A Taliban statement, reported by media, said that the leadership of the Taliban has directed fighters “not to attack the enemy in any place” during Eid, starting from Sunday. Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has welcomed the Taliban announcement.
Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said on Sunday that her country welcomes the announcements by the Taliban and the Afghan government about the ceasefire on the occasion of Eid.
“While extending Eid greetings to our Afghan brethren, we pray for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” Farooqui tweeted.
There had been repeated calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in Afghanistan by the international community in the wake of COVID-19 which has also affected the war-torn country.
US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo has also welcomed the ceasefire in Afghanistan.
“I welcome the announcements by the Taliban to observe a three-day ceasefire for Eid and the Afghan government to reciprocate,” he said in a statement issued by the State Department on Sunday.
” 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,” Michael R. Pompeo said.
He said that The United States was committed to the implementation of the U.S.-Taliban agreement and the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration.
“With the political crisis in Afghanistan resolved, I expect newly named Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and President Ghani to seize the opportunity to remove the remaining obstacles that have delayed the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, starting with releasing prisoners,” the US Secretary of State said.
” I expect the Taliban to adhere to their commitment not to allow released prisoners to return to the battlefield. Finally, I expect both leaders of the Afghan government and the Taliban not to escalate violence after Eid. This violence is counterproductive, deepens grievances, and prolongs the suffering of the Afghan people,” he said.
Peace is the consistent and overwhelming desire of the Afghan people. We hope this ceasefire can build trust. Next, all sides should work together to build on the momentum of this historic Eid ceasefire to move with urgency to intra-Afghan negotiations, Pompeo added.
He also wished Eid Mubarak to all Afghans and other Muslims of the world.
By Muhammad Luqman