President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday announced the end of the ceasefire and ordered security forces to resume operations across the country.
Speaking at a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Ghani said: “The ceasefire has ended, our security and defense forces are allowed to carry out operations”.
Ghani also emphasized that government was working hard to achieve peace but that it had no plans to hand over territory to the Taliban.
He made it clear that all Afghans want peace and that there is consensus, across the board, on this issue.
He also said: “No one has the right to monopolize the peace process.”
He said it was now up to the Taliban to join the peace process especially as they have to face the Afghan people and religious scholars.
Ghani said it is the “Taliban’s time to decide how they are going to deal with the situation.”
“People want peace from the Taliban and the government, and it's time for the Taliban to answer this question positively,” Ghani said.
He once again called on the Taliban to join the peace process, and said this is what the Ulema and Afghan people want.
He said it is the “Taliban’s decision whether they want to keep killing the people or join the peace process.”
According to him, peace process efforts are ongoing and government is trying hard to get results, “which is what the nation wants.”
“Dialogue is continuing, and progress is needed,” he said.
Asked whether there was any truth in rumors that government is providing territory as “safe areas” to the Taliban, Ghani rejected these claims and said there has been no such consensus on this issue.
“Safe areas for the Taliban is not in the government's plan, there will be one government with a single flag … (but) Taliban women should have the right to go to a hospital,” Ghani said.
On the ceasefire, Ghani said that the nation had shown its true feelings during the truce.
“The nation has shown they are ready for peace, this is the greatest achievement. The ceasefire was a controlled experiment. The government is ready whenever the Taliban wants a ceasefire. The ceasefire was 98 percent successful,” Ghani said.
He also stated that many Taliban members are tired of the war and want peace and that in turn the nation showed that it is ready for reconciliation.
The president announced a ceasefire on June 12 – that was carried out over Eid-ul-Fitr. The Taliban also called a ceasefire over Eid, but only for three days. Over Eid, Ghani extended government’s ceasefire by 10 days. However the Taliban failed to respond and immediately after Eid resumed attacks across the country.
Government’s unilateral ceasefire officially ended on Friday.