Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Eid Ceasefire: an Opportunity for Diplomacy

The Afghan Taliban surprised the world with their three-day ceasefire over the Eid holiday in the middle of June. This announcement came after a ceasefire announced by the government on Thursday. However they have excluded the international forces and they have preserved the right of self-defense against any attacks for themselves. 
Though, this ceasefire is for a short time, but it is a unique event during the course of more than four decades of war and conflict in the country. We hope that the members of the Taliban participate in the gatherings in public gatherings during the Eid festivities, because it will bring them closer to the society to be once more integrated in the it and distance themselves from the insurgent groups. Though it is very idealistic but it is possible to put an end to the prolog conflict if there is a strong political will among the different sides of the conflict. The government of Afghanistan has termed this move of the Taliban as “a good start”, and has added that the Afghan government expects, “the window that has been opened should turn to better opportunities”. The government of Afghanistan and all the Afghan citizens expect the Taliban act positively against the demands of Ulema and focus more on stopping the war in the country.  
The Afghan government and its international partners need to make sure they use this time in the best possible way. They cannot afford to miss this opportunity and realize we have lost the best chance in after decades of war. Indeed much depends on how all the relevant factors involved seize this opportunity to turn it into a base of longer ceasefire and peace agreement in the country.
The NUG leadership has shown it is willing to engage with the Taliban and HN in a very different way. The NUG has repeatedly announced its readiness to talk with the Taliban and HN and has repeatedly called them to come to negotiations table to reach mutually acceptable solutions. 
There is no doubt that time will test the goodwill of all sides. Linking the ceasefire announcement by the Taliban to the unconditional ceasefire announced by the government, we may conclude that the decision of the NUG has been promising, and so far taken a very positive step towards pouting an end to conflict in Afghanistan, even if it is for 3 days; because it can be changed to a basis for better understanding and mutual cooperation between the conflicting parties to put aside their differences through a constructive dialogue.
In addition to this, goodwill is not enough. In other words, it needs strong will and wisdom to shape our common future in order to tackle our common challenges in Afghanistan. Challenges in Afghanistan are very complicated and each one needs to be addressed in a unique manner in order to reach to a viable peace in the country. It is clear as crystal that some challenges have been here for decades, some are relatively new, and some may remain for a long time in the future. Issues of religion and ethnicity have been mixed with a fight for regional hegemony in the country for several centuries. Regional actors look for different agendas, for historical reasons and because of their current interests in Afghanistan. Amid such an explosive mix, we shall fight for greater opportunities fought by secular Afghans across the country.
This ceasefire is a test for multi-lateralism, as well because it reinvigorates those who still put trust in the multilateral system to address the national and international conflicts. It actually shows that nothing is as effective as working together when looking for lasting solutions to a given problem. This approach emphasizes on: dialogue, diplomacy, partnership, perseverance; a win-win approach.
The three day ceasefire announced by the Taliban insurgents was a surprising move that gave hope to the people that, first of all they would have a peaceful Eid for 3 days. At the same time it is a sign of different approach of the Taliban group to the ceasefires and peace negotiations offered by the government in the past. Though, it is a short period, but in terms of diplomacy, it is a big achievement for the NUG. So far, it has proven that a multilateralism approach aiming at dialogue, diplomacy, partnership, and perseverance; a win-win approach prevails.