The HPC thanked religious scholars for their recent fatwa over the war in Afghanistan and said they believed this led to the temporary ceasefire in the country.
Afghan High Peace Council Calls On Taliban to Extend Ceasefire
Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC) on Sunday called on the Taliban to extend the ceasefire at the request of the people. HPC says it will cooperate with the Taliban.
“There is no doubt that there would be more developments in peace talks with the Taliban, Karmi Khalili, HPC chief said, adding that Taliban always emphasized the need for an Afghan owned peace process.
Akram Khpalwak, secretariat chief of the HPC has thanked religious scholars for their recent fatwa over the war in Afghanistan and said they believed this led to the temporary ceasefire in the country.
Early this month, more than 2,000 Afghan religious scholars from around the country issued a fatwa, an Islamic directive, saying “the ongoing war in Afghanistan is forbidden under Islamic law”.
“There are some people in government or among the Taliban that will not see the benefit of the ceasefire and will create some problems,” Khpalwak said, adding that “we thank the government, Taliban and people for the ceasefire and all the credit of this ceasefire goes to the people of the country.”
“We are calling on the Taliban, they saw in the media that in villages and districts and all parts of the country people called for the ceasefire to be extended extending and for directs talks. On behalf of the people and as a peace organization we call you (Taliban) to say yes to the people’s demands and extend the ceasefire and prepare for direct talks. The HPC will cooperate in any way,” he said.
This comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani said in an address to the nation on Saturday evening that the temporary ceasefire between government and Taliban has been warmly welcomed by the people and that he has ordered the security forces to extend the ceasefire.
Ghani said the current ceasefire will be extended from the fourth day of Eid. He however did not give any further details.
The president said he read Friday’s security report and all parts of the country were peaceful.
The extension of the ceasefire by Ghani was widely welcomed by the public.
European Union’s High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini also said in a statement that the “historic ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban during Eid al-Fitr has given the Afghan people a much-needed respite from 17 years of conflict.”
“Popular support for this initiative is overwhelming: Afghans of all sides, Government officials, soldiers, Taliban exchanging Eid greetings and attending prayers together have given all a sense of what peace could look like,” she said.
The EU commends both parties for honouring their commitments.
“President Ghani’s latest decision to offer an extension of the ceasefire is another courageous step to make way for peace negotiations and we call on the Taliban to reciprocate. The Afghan people deserve a lasting peace,” according to the statement.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the US embassy in Kabul have both commended government and the Taliban for honoring the ceasefires.
“UNAMA welcomes the announcement made today by President Ghani to extend the ceasefire with the Taliban beyond Eid-ul-Fitr,” UNAMA’s statement said.
“The Government’s extension of the ceasefire provides a clear opportunity for initiating a negotiated solution to the conflict,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA. “This opportunity cannot be missed.”
In the meantime, the US embassy said in a statement that the United States extends its best wishes to the people of Afghanistan in celebration of Eid al-Fitr. “We welcome the ceasefire during the period of Eid. The Afghan people this year are spending the Eid holidays with their families with renewed hope of peace.”
“We support President Ghani’s offer to extend the ceasefire and begin peace talks. As President Ghani emphasized in his statement to the Afghan people, peace talks by necessity would include a discussion of the role of international actors and forces. The United States is prepared to support, facilitate, and participate in these discussions,” it said.
“All of Afghanistan’s people benefit from the end of bloodshed, and we have seen the overwhelmingly positive reaction from Afghans across society. We have seen pictures of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan soldiers and police with Taliban fighters offering prayers for Eid side by side. If Afghans can pray together, their leaders can talk together and resolve their differences, according to the statement.