Taliban will not accept permanent ceasefire until political settlement: Khalilzad

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US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (File Photo)
US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (File Photo)

Kabul[Afghanistan], September 26 (ANI): The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that the Taliban would not agree to a comprehensive ceasefire until there is a political settlement.
"The [Taliban] will not accept a ceasefire--comprehensive and permanent--until there is a political settlement. And that is not unprecedented in similar conflicts elsewhere, I think they can do a reduction of violence, they have said they will consider it depending on what the proposal is. The government is supportive of it too," Tolo News quotes Khalilzad in an interview to a magazine.
According to Tolo News, Khalilzad said that Washington is ready to work with the Afghan government and the Taliban.
This comes after the Taliban continues to attack multiple attacks in the country.
However, the Afghan security agencies insist that the security forces "are capable of defending the nation anywhere". Clashes were reported in parts of Faizabad city in Badakshan; in Taluqan, the centre of Takhar province, and in Kunduz province.
A resident of Kunduz province said, "You are not safe inside the city, with all that is going on here."
"Around 3:00 am, the Taliban launched an attack on the checkpoints of the local police in Doaba area. As a result of the attack, four Taliban fighters were killed and five more were seriously wounded. Unfortunately, a local commander named Ghazi was martyred in the attack and one of his colleagues was wounded," said Sanaullah Rouhani, a spokesman for Badakhshan's governor as reported by Tolo News.
Mohammad Hassan Sharifi Balkhabi, a member of parliament said that if security agencies do not come up with "more robust and coordinated planning" to counter the operations", " the peace talks will change in favor of Taliban", reported Tolo News.
The Afghans were hopeful that the violence would reduce after the US-Taliban agreement in Doha on February but the terrorist group's supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada called on his fighters to increase "military capabilities".
"The physical presence of this group (Taliban) is not permanent anywhere, they are always on the run from one place to another," reports Tolo News quoting Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior.
Neelofar Ibrahimi, a member of parliament, said, "The security sector should act stronger and with new planning because if they (Taliban) demonstrate their military power during the talks, we must demonstrate our defense capability."
Tolo News further reported that this came after President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday discussed the peace process in Afghanistan.
Over the past two weeks, the Taliban has initiated 350 operations in various regions of Afghanistan resulting in 20 civilians killed and 80 more wounded, as per the Afghan Security agencies' statistics.
However, the Taliban spokesperson rejected the claims by the Afghan government about the civilian casualties, saying the casualties occurred as a result of mortar attacks by the Afghan forces. (ANI)