Taliban has 'no ceasefire plans'



Qatar-based Taliban official Mohammad Nabi Omari (centre left), Taliban negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai (centre right) and former Taliban intelligence deputy chief Mawlawi Abdul Haq Wasiq (right) walk with another Taliban member during the second day of the Intra-Afghan Dialogue talks in Doha, Qatar, on July 8. [Karim Jaafar/AFP]

KABUL -- The Taliban on Monday (December 30) denied agreeing to any ceasefire in Afghanistan after reports swirled of a potential deal that would see a reduction in fighting after more than 18 years of war.

The statement from the insurgents comes amid renewed US-Taliban talks, after Washington called off the negotiations earlier this year over insurgent attacks.

"In the past few days, some media have been releasing untrue reports about a ceasefire... The fact is that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has no ceasefire plans," the Taliban said after multiple media reports, including a story in the Wall Street Journal, suggested the group was on the verge of announcing some type of temporary truce.

The United States and the Afghan government in Kabul have long called for a ceasefire with the Taliban, including during the year of negotiations between Washington and the militants that Washington suspended in September.

Negotiations have since restarted in Doha but were earlier this month put on a "pause."

Grim milestone

Earlier Monday, in Jawzjan Province, the Taliban killed at least 13 Afghan security personnel during a raid on a pro-government militia position, according to a provincial spokesman.

Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict. The country passed a grim milestone this year with more than 100,000 killed or wounded over the past decade, the United Nations (UN) said last week.

A UN tally found that last year was the deadliest on record, with at least 3,804 civilians killed by the war -- including 927 children.

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Our main problem is that instead of causes of war, we think about the war itself, and we have never sought the outbreak of war. Supporting peace process is the job of all the people of Afghanistan. The question is: will the military commanders of Taliban and their fighters stop fighting when the peace agreement in Qatar is signed? The answer may be no, because there are other problems, one of which is the existence of corruption and weak governance on the districts level that cause them to hold weapons and join the Taliban. Unless the main and basic attention is paid on village and districts levels, the problem will continue to exist in this manner, even if an agreement is signed thoroughly.