The U.S.-NATO coalition is expected to adhere to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s unilateral Ramadan truce with the Taliban, announced on Thursday without the backing of the terrorist group.
It appears the United States and Kabul continue in their quest to push the Taliban into a ceasefire agreement during the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
At the beginning of the holiest month for Muslims on May 17, the U.S.-NATO coalition and the United Nations urged the Taliban to accept Ghani’s offer of a ceasefire and recognition as an official political group, but the jihadists have continued to carry out attacks.
So far during this year’s Ramadan, the Afghan Taliban has proven to be the most prolific terrorist in the world, killing and injuring more people than any other jihadist organization, a Breitbart News analysis shows.
On Thursday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced an unprecedented unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban until June 20, near the end of Ramadan, that excludes other terrorist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
Ghani’s decision came after a top Islamic clerical body, known as the Afghan Ulema Council, declared a fatwa, or edict, against suicide bombings less than an hour before an allegedly ISIS-linked jihadi attacked the entrance to their peace tent in Kabul, killing 14 and wounding about 19 others.
The clerics endorsed Ghani’s ceasefire, a move that the Afghan president gladly welcomed.
After a televised address on Thursday, Ghani announced on Twitter:
[Afghan] national defense and security forces will only stop offensive maneuvers against Afghan armed Taliban and will continue to target Daesh [ISIS] and other foreign-backed terrorist organizations and their affiliates.
This ceasefire is an opportunity for Taliban to introspect [sic] that their violent campaign is not [winning the] hearts and minds but further alienating the [Afghan] people from their cause.
With the ceasefire announcement, we epitomize the strength of the Afghan government and the will of the people for a peaceful resolution to the Afghan conflict.he Taliban has yet to respond, but an unnamed international political analyst based in Kabul aptly told Reuters the move reflects “a one-sided love story.”
#Afghan national defense and security forces will only stop offensive maneuvers against Afghan armed Taliban and will continue to target Daesh and other foreign backed terrorist organizations and their affiliates.
— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) June 7, 2018
U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander of American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, noted that the United States armed forces would honor Ghani’s ceasefire, saying in a statement, “We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict.”
"We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict" – Gen. Nicholson. https://t.co/7HV2NfQrs3 pic.twitter.com/62tGGy3G2K
— USForces Afghanistan (@USFOR_A) June 7, 2018
The statement acknowledged that the truce would not cover U.S. counter-terrorism operations against ISIS and al-Qaeda.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed Ghani’s ceasefire, saying it “shows the seriousness of President Ghani and the Afghan government.”
“It is completely Afghan-originated and, as you know, it is our policy to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process,” an anonymous NATO official told reporters, according to Reuters.
Former Afghan army general Atiqullah Amarkhel warned that the ceasefire would provide the Taliban with a chance to regroup.
“From a military prospect, it is not a good move,” the former general told Reuters.
Consistent with previous years, jihadist groups like the Taliban have intensified attacks during Ramadan, believing it to be exceptionally heroic and specially rewarded by God in paradise to die a martyr during the holy month.
The end of next week will mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday ending Ramadan.
Although the Taliban has failed to officially respond to Ghani’s U.S.-backed offer of a ceasefire and official political recognition, the group has continued to fuel deteriorating security conditions in the country since the president announced the proposal in February.
Late last month, the Taliban denied Gen. Nicholson’s assertion that the group is engaging in secret peace talks with Kabul.
“Reconciliation” between the Afghan Taliban and Kabul is the primary goal of U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy to end the nearly 17-year-old war, Nicholson declared on May 30.