MONITORING (SW) - The unexpected three-day ceasefire in Afghanistan for Eid-ul-Fitr on Sunday has been widely hailed.
The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad in a series of tweets welcomed the Taliban’s decision to observe a ceasefire during Eid, as well as the Afghan government announcement reciprocating and announcing its own ceasefire.
He said although difficult challenges remain on both fronts, but both will be overcome, so long as leaders on all sides make the right decisions and put the interest of their people first. "This development offers the opportunity to accelerate the peace process", he said.
Khalilzad said other positive steps should immediately follow: the release of remaining prisoners as specified in the US-Taliban agreement by both sides, no returning to high levels of violence, and an agreement on a new date for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations. "This is a momentous opportunity that should not be missed. The US will do its part to help", he said.
The truce is also welcomed by NATO.
The Alliance's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg said: "I welcome the statements by the government of #Afghanistan & the Taliban on a 3-day ceasefire over Eid. All parties should seize this opportunity for peace, for the benefit of all Afghans. #NATO remains committed to Afghanistan’s long-term security".
Last evening, the Taliban announced the three-day ceasefire which was welcomed and reciprocated by Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.