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Afghan Ceasefire

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani announced for the first time an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban with the ending of the Ramzan. But it excludes other militant groups such as Islamic State. The decision came out of a meeting of Islamic clerics who issued a fatwa against suicide bombings which killed 14 people.  The clerics also recommended a ceasefire with the Taliban who are seeking to re-impose strict Islamic law after their ouster in 2001. Ghani approved the recommendation of the clerics. Arms will be laid down by Kabul after June 20.

Ghani had urged a ceasefire earlier but this is the first time it has been effected after his election in 2014. It has been said that it would give the Taliban an opportunity to introspect and realise that their violence is not appealing to the people of the country. No immediate reaction has so far been received from the Taliban. An international analyst has said, “it’s a one-sided love story”. US forces in Afghanistan have said that they would honour the ceasefire. General John Nicholson, US Forces- Afghanistan and NATO- led Resolute Support Commander has taken a pacifist stand. This ceasefire would not however include US counter terrorism efforts against IS and Al-Qaida. NATO Secretary General Gens Stoltenberg has welcomed the Afghan government’s move. He along with the UN have urged the Taliban to reciprocate the gesture. Russia has also praised the decision. It however does not generate much optimism as talks with the Taliban in the recent past have failed. The ceasefire may in fact give them an opportunity to regroup.

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