Taliban Rejects Cease-Fire Extension, Peace Marchers Arrive in Afghan Capital
The Taliban on Sunday refused to extend a three-day nationwide cease-fire in Afghanistan, despite Afghan president Ashraf Ghani unilaterally announcing a nine-day extension of the truce, the Guardian reported.
The agreement – brokered on the occasion of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, the celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan – was the first nationwide lull in hostilities in 17 years.
The three-day cease-fire brought about unprecedented scenes of reconciliation between militants and Afghan troops. During the holidays, Taliban fighters were welcomed into government-controlled cities, where militants posed for selfies with soldiers and civilians.
“The cease-fire ends tonight [Sunday] and our operations begin tomorrow, inshallah [God willing],” said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid after the High Peace Council, a government body charged with negotiating an end to the nearly 17-year war, called on the group to accept the extended truce.
Meanwhile, a group of hundreds of peace marchers arrived in the capital Kabul on Monday, after trekking 435 miles (700km) across the country to demand an end to the conflict, according to the Sunday Times.
The peace march, which began in the capital of the southern province of Helmand, a Taliban stronghold, more than a month ago, is believed to be the first of its kind in the war-torn country.
Colombia Elects Critic of Peace Deal
Colombia on Sunday elected as its new president Ivan Duque, a right-wing politician who is critical of the country’s historic peace accord, NPR reported.
The election is the first since the government signed a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known as the FARC) in 2016.
Legislation related to the deal cannot be annulled for 12 years, but Duque on Sunday vowed to make some modifications to the agreement.
“There will be changes,” Duque declared in his victory speech. “We are going to make war victims the focal point of the peace process.”
During his campaign, Duque promised to effectively remove the FARC leadership from Congress and impose harsher punishment on guerrillas for crimes committed during the five-decade conflict with the government, according to Colombia Reports.
India to Resume Operations in Kashmir After One-Month Cease-Fire
India on Sunday announced that it will resume military operations against rebels in the disputed region of Kashmir, after the end of a one-month-long Ramadan cease-fire, Al Jazeera reported.
The cease-fire did not end hostilities between Indian troops and separatist rebels who support the merger of the Kashmir region with Pakistan. At least six civilians, nine security personnel and more than 20 fighters have been killed during the past 30 days, Al Jazeera said, citing police records.
Sunday’s announcement comes only days after the United Nations released its first human rights report on Kashmir.
The report, which calls for an international inquiry into multiple violations by all sides, accused Indian security forces of using “excessive force” in Kashmir.
Citing unidentified civil society groups, IRIN reports that Indian security forces killed at least 130 civilians between July 2016 and March 2018, and injured thousands more.
- The New York Times: A Grass-Roots Afghan Peace Movement Grows, Step by Step
- The Council on Foreign Relations: Afghan Cease-Fires Could Pave Path to Peace
- The Christian Science Monitor: A Model of Peace to Help End Yemen’s War
- The United States Institute of Peace: Strong Words Alone Will not Deliver Peace to South Sudan
- The New York Times: Kashmiri Journalist Shujaat Bukhari, a Voice for Peace, Is Killed