Afghanistan resumes anti-terror fight as truce ends

President Ashraf Ghani says efforts for peace will continue in war-ravaged country
KABUL, Afghanistan: Ending an extended and unilateral cease-fire, the Afghan government on Saturday instructed security forces to resume nationwide counter terrorism offensives.
Addressing a news conference at the Arg (presidential palace), President Ashraf Ghani said security forces were allowed to resume offensives against the armed rebels.
However, Ghani said efforts for peace would continue.
“Now, the Taliban are under pressure from the Afghan Ulema (religious scholars), Khateebs (religious preachers) from Indonesia, Pakistan, Mecca and Medina and the whole Islamic world,” he said, defending the 18-day cease-fire declared by his government amid growing calls from different quarters on the Taliban to shun violence.
In mid-June, Ghani had announced the cease-fire as an “opportunity for Taliban to introspect that their violent campaign is not wining them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause”.
The cease-fire was announced after a fatwa (religious decree) was issued by a group of over 3,000 Afghan religious scholars against terrorism in the country.
“Suicide attacks, explosions killing people, causing division, insurgency, different types of corruption, robbery, kidnapping and any type of violence are counted as big sins in Islam and are against the order of the Almighty Allah,” the decree said.
The scholars also renewed their call on the Taliban to shun violence and join the Afghan peace process.
In response to the call, the Taliban declared a three-day cease-fire on the occasion of Muslim festival of Eid, but later resumed deadly assaults on security forces in different parts of the country.
On Thursday, Gen. Abdul Raziq, the powerful chief of police in the restive Kandahar province bordering Pakistan, told the local Azadi Radio that secret negotiations were underway with the Taliban leadership to ensure their integration in the government positions in a bid to end the armed resistance.
The Taliban have dubbed such previous reports about contacts with the government as “propaganda by the pro-government media”.–AA

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