The International Crisis Group on Sunday welcomed the “unprecedented” ceasefire announcement by the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgent group, saying such a truce could represent a concrete step toward peace talks.
“International Crisis Group welcomes pledges by the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgency that both sides will respect a ceasefire over the Eid al Fitr holiday. If implemented, such a truce would be unprecedented and could represent a concrete step toward peace talks,” the organization said in a statement.
“There are sceptics both inside President Ashraf Ghani’s government and among the Taliban who question the truce. Its implementation could prove difficult. Nonetheless, the announcement of a ceasefire is a bold decision by both parties and could represent a step toward a peace process,” the statement added.
According to the organization, if the leadership of both parties can enforce the ceasefire, it would be “an important trust-building exercise that contributes to future peace-making” in Afghanistan.
Last week, President Ashraf Ghani announced a ceasefire with the Taliban after Afghan clerics gathered in Kabul and issued a Fatwa, religious ruling, against the ongoing violence in the country.
“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan announces ceasefire from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr following the historic ruling [Fatwa] of the Afghan Ulema,” Ghani said in a video message aired live on the Presidential Palace Facebook page.
He ordered all Afghan security forces to stop their offensive maneuvers against the “Afghan armed Taliban” during the ceasefire period.
However, he asked governmental forces to continue their military operation against Daesh, Al-Qaeda and other foreign-backed terrorist organizations and their affiliates across the country.
Following the announcement by Afghan government, the Taliban announced a truce during the forthcoming Eid al Fitr holiday.
For its part, the Taliban said its ceasefire will not extend to U.S.-led NATO forces, though the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan has said the U.S. will respect the truce.
The ceasefire announcement decisions were warmly welcomed especially by citizens in the capital Kabul and on social media who hoped for a lasting peace across the war-torn country.