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article imageTaliban support a week-long ceasefire in Afghanistan

By Ken Hanly     Dec 28, 2019 in Politics
The Taliban has announced that they are in favor of a week-long ceasefire in Afghanistan. The group hopes that this will help seal a deal with the US and lead to the US withdrawing eventually after being in the country for 18 years.
Leadership approves of the deal
The leadership of the Taliban in Quetta Pakistan have been reported as in favor of a ceasefire as part of a peace deal and confirmed this on Wednesday. Taliban council members broadly supported the ceasefire. However, there appears to be some division as reported in a recent article: "A source familiar with the peace talks in Qatar said Thursday that “most members” of the Taliban councils in Pakistan have agreed to establish a temporary ceasefire.The source, however, says the final decision about the ceasefire will be made by the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.The source says that the Quetta Council of the Taliban, which is mostly military, still has questions about the decision.“It is said that the Peshawar council, which has the largest number of Taliban leaders, has made a positive decision on the ceasefire, but when the Taliban delegation went to Quetta, the Quetta council, which is mostly military, had different views on the ceasefire,” said Sami Yousufzai, a freelance journalist in Doha. Although the Taliban have not officially announced anything, Jalaluddin Shinwari, a former member of the Taliban, believes that eventually the views of the group’s politicians and militaries will be coordinated, and he downplays divisions between both"
Although the prospects for a ceasefire appear positive, it may be a while yet before differences are ironed out and the ceasefire becomes a reality. Trump had conditioned a peace deal on a ceasefire being reached as well. Trump had earlier rejected a deal with the Taliban that had been reached in principle after a Taliban attack that killed one US soldier. However, neither side had agreed to a ceasefire and both sides had continued attacks.
No comments yet from the US
The US had announced a pause in the peace talks after a Taliban attack in spite of the fact that no cease fire was agreed to. It is not clear if they will now be willing to restart talks at the moment or if the US has any interest at present in reaching a deal again.
UN statement
Tadamichi Yamamoto
UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Afghanistan asked parties involved in conflict to reach a political agreement, not harm civilians, and reach a permanent ceasefire: “The United Nations urges all stakeholders to seek ways to reduce levels of violence, especially the violence which harms civilians, on the way to a lasting political settlement and a permanent ceasefire. Implementing a reduction of violence is also important in creating an environment that enables constructive intra-Afghan talks on peace to take place."
More about Afghan war, US Taliban peace talks, afghan ceasefire
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