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Afghans witnessed a historic and unprecedented measure ever taken for de-escalating the decades-long war after the peace agreement inked on 29th February in Doha. The war between the US and the Taliban which started after the tragedy of 9/11 has apparently come to an end. Based on the pact, America withdraws its all forces within 14 months and the Taliban pledged to cut their ties with major terror groups and to not let Afghan soil be used by terrorists.
The peace accord along with some major clauses also contains an item based on which the Afghan government is to release 5000 Taliban prisoners for 1000 government captives who will be freed by the Taliban. The very article has been a hot potato over the last three days after President Ghani denied the release/swap.
Ghani a day after signing the pact told reporters that he has not agreed with any side on freeing the prisoners. He added that the issue belongs to the Afghan government and Taliban and asked the US to remain impartial.
This contentious article is apparently making the situation worse for the intra-afghan talks which are planned to kick off in the coming seven days. As per the spokesman of Taliban political office based in Doha, the ten-day gap between the very agreement and intra-afghan talks is a trust-building period in which prisoners swap will take place. Taliban also urges the swap as their prime condition for the parley with the Afghan government.
On the other side, President Ghani said that there is no guarantee for the prisoners not to rejoin the battlefield, taking into consideration this threat, any potential swap or release will be conditions-based.
This argument which can most probably ruin the given opportunity for restoring peace needs to be solved on urgent bases. Taliban have recently announced to resume their operations against Afghan forces and foreigners to remain untouched. The announcement presumably seems to be made as retaliation for the denial of release by the Afghan government and to pressurize President Ghani to comply with the clause on prisoners’ release.
Taliban dubbed their 19-year long war as Jihad against invaders and freeing Afghanistan from occupation. Now With the resumption of war against Afghan forces, the Taliban not only defy their own claim for waging Jihad against Americans but also proves to be a proxy group.
A week-long reduction in violence (RIV) which culminated in signing the peace deal was too optimistic for a war-free nation. People of Afghanistan have never been so hopeful and overjoyed as they were after the Doha agreement. People across the country have been celebrating the measure by dancing on the street. They gave charity to express gratitude for the violence-free week being granted. Afghan soldiers who could not go to their villages utilized the opportunity and met their families, some did this after years. Gravediggers, coffin makers and morgue owners have been out of business but were still thankful. The (RIV) week was rare and unprecedented which was welcomed by the entire world. The violence reduction sprang up hopes of Afghan people for a truce which will be followed by a nationwide peace. They even thanked the Taliban for abiding by the pledge of non-violence week.
After the recent announcement by the Taliban, all the optimism and hope for peace and stability seem to go in vain. The war apparently does not seem to end and killing innocent people does not seem to stop. This will be rather shameful for the Taliban targeting Afghan soldiers for no reason and incentive. This measure will also defame the Taliban on the international level after they were recognized partially as a political address to negotiate with rather than an insurgent group.
The destiny of the Afghan people is looking to be very implicit. Now, this is up to the Taliban to welcome the desire of Afghans for peace and deal with the conflicts through negotiations. Talks between Taliban and America concluded in peace thus there remains no excuse for the continuation of war with Afghans. Taliban as Afghans can very easily conclude in a deal with their countrymen.