Amid growing speculation of another ceasefire being announced, the High Council of Jihadi and National Parties (CJNP) on Saturday called on government and Taliban to agree to a long-term ceasefire and end their differences through talks.
The last time government and Taliban observed a ceasefire for three days was in June – over Eid-al-Fitr. The move was widely welcomed by the nation and the international community.
However, over the past two weeks there has been a spike in violence in the country, which has resulted in the death of hundreds of people, including civilians.
On Wednesday, an estimated 50 students were killed when a suicide bomber targeted their classroom at an academy in the west of Kabul.
On Saturday, the CJNP said at a gathering at the Presidential Palace that was also attended by members of the Ulema Council and the High Peace Council, that talks had been conducted between the US and Taliban.
“Taliban and Americans have held talks. As far as we know, they have made some agreements,” said Abdul Hakim Munib, the deputy head of the CJNP.
The High Peace Council and the Ulema Council meanwhile called on President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban to forge a long-term ceasefire.
“(We demand) a long-term ceasefire which prepares the way for the peace talks – not a short-term ceasefire,” said Qiyamuddin Kashaf, head of Afghanistan’s Ulema Council.
The Taliban meanwhile issued an Eid message on Saturday but said nothing about a ceasefire.
Leader Mullah Hibatullah Ahundzada said: “Since the ongoing war in Afghanistan is the birth-child of American occupation therefore we have and continue to insist on direct talks with America to bring it to an end.
“Even now if they show readiness for direct dialogue with the Islamic Emirate by accepting the ground realities of Afghanistan, we will view it as a sound step by America.”
The Taliban leader has said that “Taliban is ready to assure the people about prevention of any disorder and ensuring of security, including for US, in case Americans withdraw from Afghanistan even today.”
He also said “if America were to end the occupation of Afghanistan today, tomorrow we would be ready to assure everyone including America about halting disorder.”
Meanwhile Haji Din Mohammad, the deputy head of the High Peace Council said: “In order to achieve a lasting peace and end the war, the people are desperately waiting for a ceasefire with the arrival of Eid.”
The Presidential Palace meanwhile said on Saturday that the president was holding discussions on the issue of another ceasefire but would announce his decision soon.
“I see the Taliban being far from ready to enter direct talks with government,” said Assadullah Saadati, an MP.