NATO, EU welcome Afghanistan’s ceasefire announcement

NATO, EU welcome Afghanistan’s ceasefire announcement
# 08 June 2018 01:31 (UTC +04:00)

NATO and the European Union on Thursday welcomed a ceasefire announcement by the Afghan government with the Taliban, APA reports quoting Reuters.

“I welcome the announcement of a ceasefire made by President [Ashraf] Ghani and the Government of National Unity. This is a positive step forward on the path to peace,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Brussels ahead of a NATO Defense Ministers meeting.

“The announcement of the ceasefire shows the seriousness of President Ghani and the Afghan government when it comes to their efforts to find a peaceful, negotiated solution to the conflict in Afghanistan," Stoltenberg said, calling on the Taliban to join the ceasefire.

“The Taliban will not win on the battlefield. The only way for them to achieve a solution is to sit down at the negotiating table,” he said.

"I call on the Taliban to join the ceasefire and to lay down their arms and to engage in a constructive dialogue to find a peaceful, negotiated solution."

In a statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also expressed support for the Afghan-led ceasefire and said the Taliban should also embrace it.

The Afghan government on Thursday announced a unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban starting from the 27th of Ramadan (June 12) until the fifth day of Eid ul-Fitr, the Muslim holy festival due to fall next week.

In a televised announcement, Ghani said the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) would only stop offensive maneuvers against armed Taliban and would continue to target Daesh and other foreign-backed terrorist organizations and their affiliates.

The Taliban are yet to respond to this cease-fire announcement.

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, many provincial heads of the pro-government National Council of Ulama and other pro-government religious figures have been assassinated in Afghanistan.