UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the announcement by the Taliban and the Afghan government of a ceasefire to enable the Afghan people to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday in peace.
The UN chief urged that all parties concerned to seize this opportunity and embrace an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres said in the statement that only a peaceful settlement can bring an end to the suffering in Afghanistan.
The Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire during the Eid al-Fitr holiday starting on Sunday in a surprise move following months of bloody fighting with Afghan forces after the group signed a landmark agreement with the United States.
President Ashraf Ghani swiftly welcomed the insurgents’ offer and ordered his forces to also comply, while the US envoy to Afghanistan hailed the deal as a “momentous opportunity.”
The UN has been committed to supporting the people and government of Afghanistan in this important endeavour, the statement further added.
Taking to Twitter, Ghani said,”I welcome the ceasefire announcement by the Taliban. The Afghan government extends the offer of peace”.
“As commander in chief I have instructed ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces)to comply with the three days truce and to defend only if attacked,” Ghani further tweeted.
The Taliban’s cease-fire announcement follows an Eid al-Fitr message from the Taliban leader which said the insurgent group was committed to the peace deal, was not seeking to monopolize power and promised to guarantee the rights of women and men under an Islamic system.
Earlier, Guterres had strongly condemned the attack on a hospital in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, which killed and wounded dozens of people on May 12.
The three-day Eid al-Fitr is to be observed on Sunday to mark the end of Muslims fasting month of Ramzan.