Tribal elders in eastern Afghanistan have established a ceasefire between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which has long eluded Western officials. They drafted a demand letter, known as an “Ariza” in the area. Subsequently, two local Taliban and Government Officials signed the letter.
The month-long cease-fire in the Alingar district of Laghman province, which has been hit particularly hard by violence, was called to allow local farmers to harvest their wheat crop and students to take their annual exams.
Furthermore, on Wednesday Jaber Alkozai, resident of Alingar, told Reuters; “A ceasefire has been something the world’s most powerful countries were trying to establish in Afghanistan. However unfortunately they couldn’t.”
Reuters reviewed a copy of the letter. Despite severe clashes elsewhere in Laghman, there have been no reports of violence in Alinger since the ceasefire began on Tuesday.
Washington to Pull Out All Soldiers
The ceasefire, which will continue until June 21, is not the first of its kind in the conflict. However, it does come at a crucial time. It occurs after following Washington’s statement that all US soldiers would be pulled out unconditionally by September. Thos annoucement has relatively escalated fighting across the country.
Despite numerous attempts and conversations, Washington-led Western capitals and other powerful regional governments have been unable to persuade the Taliban to cease fighting against Afghan forces for a long period.
Problems Faced by Farmers Due to Ongoing Conflict
Farmers in the region intend to start harvesting wheat on May 22, the first day of the third Afghan solar month of Jawza, which is generally the start of the harvest season across the country.
However, According to Qari Nabi Sarwar, an Alingar tribal elder said, Farmers were facing another year of losing ready-to-harvest wheat due to conflict. In prior years, dozens of wheat stacks were burned to ashes after being hit in the crossfire by weaponry, including rocket launchers.
Moreover, Sawar told Reuters “Farmers were preparing to get the result of their toil. Whereas, the Taliban and Afghan forces were fingers-on-triggers. They are looking for a small excuse to fire at each other.”
According to Reuters, Haji Abdul Waris, a group member who met both sides, the ceasefire will also prevent thousands of children from missing examinations.
Locals are Pleased with the Decision of Ceasefire
‘The development has pleased the locals. They believe it serves as an important example of a ceasefire across Afghanistan by true and honest tribal elders,’ Alkozai said.
According to Asadullah Dawlatzai, a spokesman for the Laghman provincial governor; the government is working with local tribal elders and religious scholars to expand the ceasefire into additional areas. He further stated, “Through this, the local administration is attempting to achieve a permanent ceasefire. Whether on a village, district, or province-level”. Dawlatzai added that the ceasefire was also in effect in Mehtarlam, the provincial capital of Laghman.
The Taliban’s spokesman did not respond to demands for comment. According to a Taliban source, the Taliban consented to the deal; which they described as an agreement with locals, not the government. The local Government Officials, the military and the Taliban signed the one-page demand document. It states that all parties will stay inside the regions they presently control. Moreover, all parties will not relocate or conduct operations during the ceasefire.
Lastly, the letter stated that “Both sides must take tribes’ problems into consideration and help them in solving them; whichever side violates the abovementioned items will be guilty before the tribe.”