Taliban reject Ramadan ceasefire offer, continue campaign of violence

Salaam Times and AFP

In this photograph taken March 26, 2017, an Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier keeps watch as his comrades search a house during an operation in Bala Murghab District, Badghis Province. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

In this photograph taken March 26, 2017, an Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier keeps watch as his comrades search a house during an operation in Bala Murghab District, Badghis Province. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

KABUL -- The Taliban have dismissed a government call for a Ramadan ceasefire as they ramp up attacks on government forces.

President Ashraf Ghani appealed to the militants to lay down their arms for the holy month that began Friday (April 24), as the country battles the growing coronavirus pandemic.

But the Taliban's spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, in a tweet late Thursday (April 23) lambasted the government's offer, citing disagreements over a potential peace process and a delayed prisoner exchange as reasons to keep fighting.

"Asking for a ceasefire is not rational and convincing," Shaheen wrote as he accused the government of putting prisoners' lives at risk during the outbreak.

Under a landmark US-Taliban deal signed earlier this year, the Afghan government and the insurgents were by now supposed to have concluded a prisoner swap and started talks aimed at bringing about a comprehensive ceasefire.

Though the Afghan government has begun to release Taliban prisoners, the militants have freed civilians misidentified as security personnel.

"The Government has released 550 Taliban prisoners from 18 provinces under the presidential decree of March 11," the National Security Council said in a tweet Friday.

"As per the decree, releases will continue across other prisons to free a total of 1,500 as part of our efforts to advance peace and fight #COVID19," it added.

Fresh violence

The Taliban's rejection of a ceasefire comes after dozens of Afghan security personnel were killed in a fresh wave of violence launched by the insurgents this week.

On Thursday, at least 13 members of public uprising forces were killed in a Taliban attack on the outskirts of Qala-e-Naw city in Badghis Province, local officials said.

At least 23 members of the Afghan security forces and nine civilians were killed on April 19 in a series of attacks in three provinces that Afghan authorities attributed to the Taliban.

The assault followed a brutal attack by the Taliban on April 7 when the group abducted and then killed seven members of a family in Sholgara District, Balkh Province.

Such attacks and other moves by the militants have called into question whether the Taliban are really interested in participating in negotiations.

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Ramadan is the month of worship and sanctity, in which all Muslims turn to God. Considering this Islamic principle, we ask all sides to refrain from extremism and blood-shedding, and to declare a ceasefire, which is in the benefit of the whole nation.


The ceasefire declared by President Ashraf Ghani is not only meaningless, but also puts the people and security forces at greater risk. We hope this wrong decision will not cause more provinces and districts to fall into the hands of terrorists. Ceasefire is when terrorist Taliban stop their offensive attacks and they should also observe it. A unilateral ceasefire has no meaning.


Government with its weak position wants to grant special concession to Taliban. I believe in peace and it is the desire with which I have grown up, but I am not in favor of granting concession to terrorist and bloodthirsty groups that kill the people of this country in the name of Islam on daily bases in response to the Afghan government's call for peace. From now on, the government should not call on Taliban for peace. Whenever the government called on Taliban for peace, the group rejected it. The government must also intensify its attacks against the group. Taliban will not declare a ceasefire and make peace unless they come under military pressure. They consider themselves the main heirs of Afghanistan, and they always say that they have defeated the United States. If this group has really defeated the United States and is the main heir to this land, then the government must hand over power to this group, and if they are not, then it must take a decisive action against the group.


Death to the bloodthirsty Taliban. Our government declared a ceasefire in this holy month of Ramadan, but Taliban considered it ridiculous, and kill people of this country every day. The main question is what is the difference between Taliban and ISIS or other terrorist networks? Why do the government authorities always grant special concession to Taliban? Taliban should also be dealt with in the same way as the ISIS group.