The Taliban in Afghanistan wasted little time in their threat to resume fighting after a three-day cease-fire, attacking in nine provinces on Monday against government security forces. Despite the government’s overture to extend a unilateral cease-fire for 10 days.
“The cease-fire was violated in some parts of the country, during which 12 of our soldiers were martyred by Taliban,” Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, spokesperson for the Afghan defense minister, told VOA. “At least 30 Taliban insurgents were either killed or wounded during the skirmishes,” he said.
The Taliban had warned in a statement that the initial three-day cease-fire would end Sunday.
“The three days of cease-fire made it clear that the Afghan people are supporting the armistice and the peace process that is also backed internationally … We are looking forward to Taliban’s responding to it positively and ending the violence,” Shah Hussain Murtazawi, spokesperson for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, told VOA.
The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan supported Ghani’s extension of the cease-fire with the Taliban and offer to begin peace talks.
While the Afghan government is still trying to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table, the insurgent group has once again called for direct talks with the United States.
“If the American officials believe in a peaceful end to the Afghan conflict, then they should present themselves at the table of direct talks so that the illusion of aggression be ended, which harms the Afghan and American people,” Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said in a statement issued on June 12.
U.S. officials have always denied engaging in any talks with the Taliban; however, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham said he believes the U.S. should talk with the Taliban but not exclude the Afghan government.
“I personally think we should talk to them. We have an obvious role to play in Afghanistan. We need to make clear to the Taliban what that role is, what our vision to the future is, but not at all to the exclusion of or instead of the Afghan government. They must talk to the Afghan government.” Cunningham told VOA.
The prospects for peace in Afghanistan remain slim, the Taliban have no real interest in sitting at the peace table because they feel they can win over the government. And without massive US-led coalition support, the government, they feel would collapse.
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