Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Taliban’s Response for Repeated Peace-call

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Taliban’s Response for Repeated Peace-call

Both national and international stakeholders including Afghan people and religious scholars called Taliban, for ceasefire, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. People in different parts of the country like Helmand and Kabul walked out urging all parts for ceasefire. The UN office in Kabul also launched an appeal to all sides to stop fighting in Ramazan.Tadamichi Yamamoto, UN Secretary General’s special representative for Afghanistan, on the occasion of Ramazan, urged the Taliban and other parties of the conflict to halt fighting.“I sincerely hope that the observation of Ramadan will provide an opportunity for all communities in Afghanistan to come closer to each other and build bridges peacefully. In the same spirit, I would like to call parties of the conflict to respect this religious obligation and halt the fighting,” the UN envoy said in his appeal.
The top American commander, Gen. John Nicholson, delivered a Ramazan message for Afghanistan, encouraging Taliban forces to accept the Afghan government’s offer and the Afghan people’s demands for peace.“In this holy month, we encourage all armed Taliban to accept the offer of His Excellency, the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and join in peace talks, for a better future of their children and the noble people of this great nation,” Gen Nicolson, the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission Commander, said.
These appeals come after considerable successes of insurgent in the battle field and taking lives of Afghan people. they are becoming casualties of war in alarming numbers. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), more than 28,000 civilians have been killed and more than 50,000 injured since 2009. This number does not include thousands of others who died between 2001 and 2008. While some local media reports indicate higher number of causalities than what UNAMA revealed.
As reflected in media reports, in 2017, 3,438 people dead and 7,015 injured — 65 percent of the casualties were attributed to the anti-government elements, namely the Taliban and Islamic State.Twenty-five percent of these casualties have been attributed to the pro-government elements (including 16 percent attributed to the Afghan National Security Forces, or ANSF, and 2 percent to international military forces). Eleven percent of these casualties were attributed to crossfire, and 1 percent to border shelling from Pakistan, while the rest cannot be attributed to any warring parties.
In spite of repeated appeals, Taliban resumed fighting with the Afghan forces, backed by US forces, in western Farah city. Last Monday, Taliban fighters attacked police headquarters in the western Farah province, killing at least 20 members of the security forces. In subsequent clashes, last Tuesday between the Taliban group, armed with heavy weapons, and Afghan security forces at least 25 members of the forces and five civilians were killed in the city. Taliban spokesman Zabihulla Mujahid claimed over social media that their forces took over most regime compounds inside the city and intentionally withdrew after achieving all their objectives.
Eventually, their new stance, which was announced last Friday, surprised all the people. they pledged not to target the Afghan police and military in the country any more due to the high number of casualties suffered by the security forces in the ongoing conflict. However, they implied to focus their attacks on Americans and their foreign allies, rather than Afghan government forces justifying its recently spring offensive in the country are on the Americans and their allies, but the security officials often come under fire because they are “protecting the foreign invaders and the corrupt regime which they have appointed”.”These security forces, however, are our own countrymen who have joined the ranks of America due to misguidance or other reasons,” the statement said.
The Taliban have always claimed that they support peace and want to minimize the suffering of Afghans.  they declared general amnesty to all military formations, national army, national police, private militia and all employees of the government to safeguard their lives and wealth if they quit the regime. They addressed the government employees, “For the sake of your own lives, for the protection of your children and for deliverance in the afterlife, leave the support of the Americans and accept the invitation by the Islamic Emirate of a life of peace and honor for you and your families.””In case you do leave the enemy ranks ... the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate shall use every means at their disposal to try and ease your life.”
According to a recent BBC study, the Taliban are active in 70 percent of districts, fully controlling four percent of the country and demonstrating an open physical presence in another 66 percent.While according to the latest report by the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Afghan government controls only 56 percent of the nation’s districts, which represents the second-lowest level — and the Taliban’s highest level — since SIGAR began receiving district control data from the U.S. military in November 2015.
Anyway, people of Afghanistan welcome any steps leading to peace, security and peaceful relations with any world nations but no one seems optimistic because of the past 17 years of painful experience and thinking that peace in Afghanistan is a complex issue involvingcontrasting actors with different agendas.Therefore, people are extremely tired and wish for a permanent solution to end the hatreds and start love and friendship. On the other hand, if the righteous demand of people continued to be ignored, one day, they themselves will proceed to put an end to the endless play but that would be too costly for all warring sides.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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