Taliban Rejects Cease-Fire Offer By Ghani; Wants All Terrorists Freed ASAP

Taliban has flatly rejected the ceasefire offer in the holy Islamic month of Ramadan amidst the COVID-19 pandemic while the US-Taliban prisoner swap deal continues to haunt both the Ghani and as well as the Modi government. 

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On the eve of the auspicious Islamic month of fasting and prayer – Ramadan, the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appealed to the Taliban for a ceasefire during this period, while also making a reference to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Taliban is asking for the release of all 5,000 prisoners by the Afghan government based on the US-Taliban peace deal. Ghani government, however, has agreed to the swap of prisoners in a phased manner.

However, the appeal was met with an open rejection as Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman took to twitter and replied –  “in a time that the lives of thousands of prisoners are being put into danger due to the coronavirus and hurdle are created in the way of the peace process and complete implementation of the Agreement, despite that, asking for a ceasefire is not rational and convincing.”

Pointing at the ceasefire offer by the Kabul government, the spokesperson did not fail to mention the recent US-Taliban agreement, which many analysts see as the first setback to India and victory for Islamabad.

The peace agreement that got signed earlier this year in Doha by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a witness, primarily lays foundations for US and NATO allies to withdraw all troops including “non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel, ” within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal, in an attempt to bring peace to Afghanistan after more than 18 years of conflict.

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The US invaded Afghanistan weeks after the September 2001 attacks in New York by the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda group, since then, 2,400 US troops have been killed and about 12,000 are still stationed in the country.

Upon a closer look at the decision of this agreement, many analysts have called it a hasty political effort by the US President, in the wake of the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for November this year.

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On one hand, the decision has strategically hampered Indian presence in the region. The Ghani government that India recognises and supports, stands a tough chance against the Taliban without the support of US troops and Ne Delhi not willing to commit.

On the other hand, the Taliban is unrelenting backed, supported and financed by Pakistan who wants to see India out of their backyard at all cost. Besides sharing cultural and linguistic similarities, Pakistan is also known for being home to the largest number of Afghan immigrants and unofficial headquarters of the Taliban.