Afghan-Taliban peace hopes rises after Saudi King’s statement

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s recent statement on Afghanistan-Taliban ceasefire has added to the growing optimism in Afghanistan that peace talks with the Taliban could resume.

King Abdulaziz on June 20 said, that he has followed with great interest the truce reached over Eid-ul-Fitr between the two sides.

The High Peace Council welcomed the king’s and the Imam of Kaaba’s statement and said it would help the cause. The Kaaba Imam also prayed for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“No doubt, Saudi Arabia has influence over the Taliban and their foreign supporters, especially Pakistan. We hope that Saudi Arabia, as the center of Muslim countries, will put the necessary pressure on the Taliban so that Afghans will witness a peaceful future,” Tolo News quoted Sayed Ehsan Taheri, the spokesman for the High Peace Council as saying.

Since Saudi Arabia shares cordial relations with Taliban, it can help establish peace in both the regions.

Taliban still has not officially showed any interest in peace talks with Afghan government.

NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg on June 21 said the organisation is not going to leave Afghanistan and that Taliban should know they will not win on the battlefield.

A negotiating group has also been formed in Washington which will work with the US embassy in Kabul.
NATO forces in Afghanistan had earlier said that the military pressure on the Taliban is important to establish peace in the region.

After the truce that lasted for the duration of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Taliban immediately took up arms again.
Ghani on June 17 announced a 10-day extension on government’s ceasefire and also urged the Taliban to extend their three-day ceasefire. The Taliban, however, has not yet responded and instead continues to carry out attacks across the country.

This came in the backdrop of an initial truce which was observed by both sides over the Eid festival period.

The Taliban on June 9 announced a three-day ceasefire over the Eid holiday, two days after Ghani announced the ceasefire from the 27th of Ramzan (June 12) to the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr (June 19).

It is the first time the Taliban has agreed to a ceasefire for Eid since the US invasion in 2001. (ANI)