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20 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Afghanistan's ceasefire raises hopes for peace

AFP

Extraordinary scenes of Afghan Taliban and security forces spontaneously celebrating a historic ceasefire showed many fighters on both sides are fed up with fighting, analysts say, raising hopes for peace in a country ravaged by war, reports AFP from Kabul.

The jubilant response to the first truce between the Afghan government and the Taliban over the Eid holiday took many by surprise, although observers warn that an end to the nearly 17-year conflict is still a long way off.

"It is difficult to predict what the next move might be, but the spell has been broken," Afghan political analyst Ghulam Sakhi Ehsani told AFP.

"From all the photos and videos, it seems the foot soldiers from both sides are tired of war."

In scenes unimaginable only a few days ago, Taliban fighters and security forces long locked in a seemingly intractable conflict were seen hugging and taking selfies together around the country.

Civilians, who have borne the brunt of the bloody war, also flocked to greet the insurgents as they entered urban areas that they usually visit only to attack, including the capital Kabul.

Fighters on both sides of the conflict expressed hopes for the unprecedented ceasefire to continue.

"We have held the ceasefire well so far," Taliban commander Baba told AFP during celebrations in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Saturday.

"Everyone is tired of war and if our leaders order us to continue the ceasefire, we will hold it forever," he said.

But the sight of its fighters openly mingling with security forces and civilians appeared to alarm the Taliban's leaders, who ordered their men back to their posts.

Michael Kugelman, an analyst at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, said the Taliban leadership may have feared that "more days without fighting could convince the rank and file that peace is better than a war".

"A little bit of freedom is good but too much, why go to paradise," a Western diplomat told AFP, referring to the virgin angels the Muslim holy book, the Koran, says await good Muslims, especially martyrs, when they die.

Two suicide attacks in Nangarhar, both claimed by the Islamic State group -- which was not part of the ceasefire -- marred the otherwise peaceful Eid holiday that follows the holy month of Ramadan.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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