Publish dateWednesday 29 July 2020 - 10:38
Story Code : 215752
US and NATO welcome Eid ceasefire, call for urgent intra-Afghan talks
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Wednesday welcomed the Taliban’s announcement of a three-day ceasefire over Eid and the Afghan government’s response to a reciprocal truce.
Khalilzad wrote on Twitter: “On the occasion of Eid ul Adha, Gen Miller, Amb Wilson, & I wish the Afghan people a peaceful holiday. Eid ul Adha is a time of charity & fellowship. Our hope is this Eid brings all Afghans together in understanding & mutual respect and one step closer to a sustainable peace.
“We welcome the Taliban announcement of an Eid ceasefire and the Afghan government’s reciprocal announcement,” he said. 
“We wish the Afghan national security forces continued honor in the service of the Afghan people and thank them for their commitment to Afghanistan. Eid Mubarak,” Khalilzad said.
This comes after Tuesday night’s announcement by the Taliban that they would observe a three-day ceasefire over the Eid al-Adha holidays. 
In a statement, the Taliban said it had ordered its fighters not to carry out any attacks against the Afghan security forces. 
Soon after, President Ashraf Ghani announced that government would observe the ceasefire and not conduct any operations. 
NATO also welcomed the announcement by both parties and said: “It is an important step in the Afghan peace process that must lead to the earliest possible start of intra-Afghan negotiations. Afghan people deserve peace now & NATO stands with them.”
The US’s acting ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson also responded and said on Twitter: “I welcome the announcements of an Eid ceasefire. Afghans deserve to celebrate the holiday in peace. I look forward to both sides fulfilling their commitments and moving quickly to intra-Afghan negotiations.”
UNAMA meanwhile also welcomed the move.
In their Twitter message the organization said: “UNAMA welcomes the Eid ceasefire announcement by the Taliban and the reciprocity from the Govt of Afghanistan.  Further prisoner releases and reductions in violence should now pave the way for a quick start to intra-Afghan negotiations.”
This latest development came just hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the group to commit to a ceasefire over Eid.
He said a “commitment to a ceasefire during the coming Eid will be an indication of things to come.”
Addressing the fourth Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Kabul on Tuesday, Ghani said that to demonstrate the government’s commitment to peace, they would soon complete the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha earlier this year.
Ghani said that “with this action we look forward to the start of direct negotiations with the Taliban in a week’s time.”
He also called on the Taliban to join the government at the negotiating table and to call for a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”
A “commitment to a ceasefire during the coming Eid will be an indication of things to come,” he added.
Within hours of Ghani having said this, the Taliban issued their statement on Twitter announcing the three-day ceasefire over Eid al-Adha, while government responded with a reciprocal truce.
Source : Afghan Voice Agency(AVA)
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