Optimistic but wary

Afghans are hopeful, but remain wary, of the possibility of lasting peace in their country.

11 June 2018 | International

Afghans exhausted by a nearly 17-year war that is older than many of the country's citizens breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday after the Taliban announced its first ceasefire since the 2001 US invasion - but some remain wary.

The decision to suspend fighting for the first three days of Eid, the holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and a time when Muslims visit family and friends, took many in the war-weary country by surprise.

Afghans flooded Facebook with messages of hope that the unprecedented ceasefire, which came two days after the government's own unexpected announcement of a week-long halt to operations against the Taliban, could lead to a longer-lasting peace deal.

“It is a good move by the government and Taliban. Anyone who has lost someone to this war will welcome it,” wrote Mohammad Najeeb.

Shah Jahan posted: “I hope this is a step towards peace. I also hope other terrorist groups such as Daesh don't disrupt it.”

Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, which has a relatively small but potent presence in Afghanistan.

“I still cannot believe they (the Taliban) accepted the ceasefire offer. This is the very first ceasefire I have witnessed since I was born,” wrote Karwan, whose profile had only one name.

“For as long as I can remember it has been war, war, war.”

Baktash Mobarez said the Taliban's announcement had “brought so much hope and happiness” to a country worn down by four decades of conflict.

“Imagine if one day all of the 20 terrorist groups active here stop fighting,” he said.

But others expressed doubts over the Taliban's sincerity, pointing to the dozens of Afghan security forces killed in a spate of attacks claimed by the group in the hours leading up to the announcement.

'Three days is not enough'

Militants launched two separate assaults in the western province of Herat and the northern province of Kunduz overnight, killing at least 36 soldiers and police, officials said.

The group also claimed responsibility for an attack on an Afghan military base in the southern province of Kandahar.

At least 23 soldiers were killed and another nine wounded in the raid, Shah Wali Kot district police chief Padshah Khan told AFP.

The casualty toll could not be immediately confirmed.

“It makes no difference, they have already started killing loads of people before the ceasefire,” wrote Hashim Akbari.

“They have killed dozens of people in Herat and Kunduz in one day. They will kill more to make up for their ceasefire days.”

A woman in Kabul told AFP that three days was not enough and instead “we should reach for a sustainable peace throughout the country”.

Civilians have paid a disproportionate price in casualties as a result of the protracted conflict.

More than 10 000 civilians were killed or wounded in 2017, down 9% from the previous year, UN figures show.

But casualties from suicide bombings and attacks were up 17% last year as the Taliban and IS ramp up assaults in urban areas, particularly Kabul.

After many fits and starts with past peace initiatives, some Afghans pleaded for a higher power to resolve the conflict.

“May God turn this ceasefire into a permanent ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghanistan,” Faridullah Talash wrote on Facebook.

“We are tired of war and bloodshed.”

NAMPA/AFP

Similar News

 

Israel closes people crossing with Gaza: official

2 days ago - 20 August 2018 | International

Israel closed its only crossing for people with the Gaza Strip on Sunday except for humanitarian cases over border incidents that saw protests and clashes...

Fresh quake rocks Lombok

2 days ago - 20 August 2018 | International

A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Lombok Sunday, sending people fleeing into the streets just two weeks after a tremor killed more...

All eyes on Geingob

5 days ago - 17 August 2018 | International

All eyes are on President Hage Geingob today as he takes over the SADC chairmanship from South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, with the region expecting...

Mnangagwa remains president

1 week ago - 14 August 2018 | International

Emmerson Mnangagwa will remain the president of Zimbabwe with full powers until there is a new president to be sworn in, Zimbabwean foreign minister Sibusiso...

Namibia takes over SADC committee chair

1 week ago - 10 August 2018 | International

The 38th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit started with the handing over of the Standing Committee of the Senior Officials chairpersonship yesterday.Namibian international relations...

ZANU-PF signalling victory

2 weeks ago - 02 August 2018 | International

Zimbabwe's ruling party is signalling victory in the presidential election and telling the opposition that "we should all lose graciously."Spokesman Paul Mangwana also told reporters...

Zanu-PF attains parliament majority

2 weeks ago - 01 August 2018 | International

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party won the most seats in parliament, official results showed yesterday, as the count continued in the presidential race and the opposition...

Repatriation a trap - Ya Nangoloh

3 weeks ago - 30 July 2018 | International

NamRights executive director Phil Ya Nangoloh has commended the Botswana High Court's ruling that the repatriation of about 800 Namibian refugees be halted.He also claimed...

Dukwe refugees to stay in Botswana

3 weeks ago - 27 July 2018 | International

A bid to forcefully repatriate the remaining Dukwe refugees currently exiled in Botswana suffered a setback when Lobatse High Court judge, Godfrey Nthomiwa, ordered they...

Lavrov tells all

4 weeks ago - 23 July 2018 | International

After months of increasing diplomatic tensions between the United States and Russia, presidents Trump and Putin met in Helsinki, Finland on 16 July after the...

Latest News

Breaking our World Cup duck

17 minutes ago | Columns

Our hearts swelled with pride and joy when the national rugby side defeated Kenya 53-28 this past weekend to not only win the Africa Gold...

Bank Windhoek, Capricorn launch Private...

17 minutes ago | Banking

STAFF REPORTERThe offering unites the very best that Bank Windhoek and Capricorn Asset Management have to offer to create a boutique financial offering that caters...

Loerie Award spreads Buy-a-Brick message...

17 minutes ago | Business

STAFF REPORTERThis time the agency did it by picking up a Loerie Award for a temporary structure called ‘The Shack’, which won in the category...

Listeriosis impacted pig producers

17 minutes ago | Agriculture

The outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa was one the major challenges which Namibian pig producers experienced during the past year. This was highlighted during...

Farms to pay municipal rates

17 minutes ago | Agriculture

Following the announcement by the City of Windhoek that farmers within Windhoek's extended borders will have to pay municipal rates, the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU)...

Company news

17 minutes ago | Business

AngloGold swings back into H1 profitAngloGold Ashanti swung back into a first-half profit on the back of higher production and lower-than-expected retrenchment costs, Africa’s top...

Northwest winning poaching war

17 minutes ago | Environment

Rhino poaching in the northwest of Namibia has declined by 80% since it peaked in 2013. This is according to the CEO of Save the...

Land Rover on the trail...

17 minutes ago | Motors

Land Rover has embarked on an unexpected expedition to preserve the precious African rhinoceros and its habitat by joining an urban rhino trail across London....

The adrenaline-pumping New Mégane R.S....

17 minutes ago | Motors

The New Mégane R.S. was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, and it is with pride that Renaults now offers this...

Load More