Baber Khan Sahel
Kabul, May 15 (EFE).- The three-day Eid ceasefire between Taliban and the Afghan government ends Saturday night, despite calls from the authorities and the Afghan population for it to be extended.
“We will not extend the ceasefire and will not announce a (permanent) ceasefire until we have not completed our goals in Afghanistan,” Taliban’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid told Efe.
The Taliban blame the Afghan government and security forces for ending the ceasefire by not agreeing to the militants’ demands, which include the establishment of an Islamic government.
“We will not lay down the arms without completion of our goals for which we have taken arms and have given thousands of sacrifices over the past 20 years,” Mujahid said.
An Afghan official who wished to remain anonymous told Efe that the government would agree to extend the current ceasefire or announce a permanent one if the Taliban were ready to do so. “For us it’s important to prevent the bloodshed of the war and to prevent the harm to the civilians by the Taliban,” the official said.
Thousands of ordinary Afghans, activists and intellectuals in the past several days have also called on the Taliban to make the ceasefire a permanent truce to prevent the ongoing violence which has significantly increased in the past two weeks.
More than 1,500 Taliban fighters and dozens of members of the security forces as well as civilians have been killed.
As part of their unannounced spring offensive, Taliban launched large-scale armed attacks in several provinces two weeks ago following the start on May 1 of the final phase of the withdrawal of the 2,500 US and 7,000 Nato troops.
That process is expected to be complete by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that led to the US invasion of the Himalayan country.