Presumably, without any incentive or coercion to meet with the Afghan government at this time, the Taliban rejected President Ashraf Ghani’s proposal for a ceasefire that coincided with the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan earlier this month.
In fact, despite the ongoing Taliban-US peace talks in Qatar, they officially launched in April, although the rebel group hoped this year would not be able to undertake the ta spring offensive.
At the end of last month, President Ghani, who met in Kabul to complete the roadmap for peace in the country, proposed a new armistice in response to the advice of loya jirga, the 3,200 Afghan politicians, tribes and religious elders and other prominent figures. He also announced the release of 175 Taliban prisoners as a sign of goodwill. However, he made it clear that the ceasefire could not be one-sided, so he had to abide by it for the Taliban to work.
Loya jirga demanded an immediate and lasting ceasefire, the Afghan government’s central role in the peace process, the protection of women’s rights, the exchange of prisoners and the opening of a Taliban office in Afghanistan.
As expected, the cease-fire proposal was rejected by the Taliban and argued that the holy war or jihad during Ramadan was c even more rewarding. He has already served as an ally of the Afghan government for thousands of Loya Jeros. It was clear that the Taliban could not accept any offer made by the meeting.
This is not the first time that President Ghani has proposed a cease-fire on the Taliban, which has repeatedly canceled the proposals. The only exception to this was the unprecedented three-day ceasefire that both sides had observed during the Feast of Ramadan in June 2018 – the first truce since the beginning of the October 2001 war in Afghanistan. Taliban warriors witnessed unprecedented scenes as they passed through the war entering cities, embracing soldiers, policemen, and civilians and posing for selfies. The longer cease-fire that led to peace talks increased expectations. However, the Taliban refused or agreed to make another ceasefire decision during the subsequent religious holidays.
The Afghan President declared a ceasefire in August 2018, shortly after he lost the government to the Taliban and five years later recaptured the government with the support of US forces. By November 2018, he had offered a three-month temporary cease-fire. But this offer had no buyers.
It was not easy for the Taliban to accept the ceasefire. It was not a happy experience for leadership because it was sad for the Taliban fighters, who confessed their happiness freely, once they accepted the ceasefire on the occasion of the feast last June.
Some Taliban leaders, including Mullah Mohammad Omar, the son of the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, issued voicemail messages because they violated the discipline and asked them to avoid such behavior in the future. The Taliban leadership avoided another ceasefire while fearing the repetition of such festival scenes and paying attention to the Afghan government’s claim that ordinary Taliban fighters were willing to stop fighting.
The Taliban leaders also cannot resist the wishes of the reported military commanders who oppose the ceasefire, unless the group can achieve anything concrete in peace negotiations. Such success can be a deal that draws a timeline for the withdrawal of the US and foreign forces from Afghanistan.
It is not surprising that this is the Taliban’s most demanding demand. The US and NATO allies would be similar to the Taliban victory if they agreed to withdraw their troops. Therefore, at this point, the Taliban may agree in a very good way for the ceasefire. Although the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been negotiating with the Taliban, is pressuring for a lasting ceasefire and a commitment to the Taliban to end the war, the Taliban are more likely to accept a temporary ceasefire and wait for the implementation of the peace treaty.
Since religious holidays provide the best time for a ceasefire, the Eid al-Fitr holiday in the first week of June will be considered as an opportunity to apply for the Ghani government to accept a temporary cease-fire to the Taliban. Most of the warriors are tired and worn, with their families when they go home to celebrate.