Taliban jihadists posing for selfies with Afghan security forces and government officials in the midst of the historic three-day truce over the weekend triggered anger among senior members of the terrorist group who have vowed to discipline those who took pictures.
“Taking selfies with Afghan soldiers and government officials over Eid-al-Fitr’s three-day ceasefire has sparked the anger of senior Afghan Taliban members. A number of Taliban leaders said that Taliban members who took selfies during the ceasefire will be punished. According to some Afghan officials, about 35,000 Taliban entered cities and districts over Eid and took selfies with the people and security forces,” TOLO News notes, echoing various other news outlets.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Taliban official confirmed to Reuters the terrorist group’s leaders’ anger towards the selfies, adding that commanders have been ordered to punish members who took pictures.
“Last night, an emergency meeting was called, and all the commanders were informed and directed to take strict disciplinary action against all those Taliban members who visited citizens and took pictures with the Afghan authorities,” the Taliban official told Reuters on Monday, without elaborating on what the punishment would be.
The Taliban militant further indicated, “Some Taliban seen taking selfies with Afghan government forces and officials had been warned” against the move.
In an unprecedented move, the Taliban agreed to a three-day ceasefire that began Friday at the start of Eid al Fitr holiday that marked the end of Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also announced a temporary Ramadan truce, backed by the United States.
Taliban terrorists refused to follow suit after Kabul extended its ceasefire by ten days. Kabul had scheduled its truce to end on June 20. The Taliban ceasefire ended Sunday.
Afghan President Ghani’s ceasefire gamble allowed an estimated 35,000 Taliban terrorists to roam cities and districts over Eid and take selfies with people and security forces despite the jihadi organization’s killing spree during most of Ramadan.
Despite participating in the truce, the Taliban ended up as the world’s most prolific Islamic terrorist group during this year’s Ramadan, killing 324 and wounding 404 people during the holy month.
“While many war-weary Afghans welcomed the ceasefires and the fraternization between the combatants, some have criticized the government ceasefire, which allowed the Taliban to flow into cities, though the militants said they were withdrawing,” Reuters notes.
The ceasefire has prompted optimism among Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network independent think tank, and other analysts who believe the truce has raised prospects for peace negotiations in the war-ravaged country, Reuters reports.
American officials maintain that talks must be Afghan-led, but Taliban terrorists insist that peace negotiations will only begin after it is allowed to negotiate the withdrawal of foreign forces with the U.S directly.
“Analysts and Western diplomats said Ghani’s offer to hold unconditional peace talks had set the stage for U.S. officials to open backchannel negotiations with the Taliban, despite Washington’s policy that peace talks be Afghan-led,” Reuters notes.
Both the Taliban and the war-weary U.S. public want American troops out of Afghanistan.