Positive development in the Afghanistan conflict during Eid

‘I applaud the parties to the conflict for a ceasefire which has been successful so far, and wish all Afghans a happy Eid. It is now important to turn the trust that has been created into a willingness to reach a lasting peace,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

In relation to the Eid festival period, the Afghan government and the Taliban have announced a seven and a three days ceasefire respectively, which to a large extent has been respected. Some violent episodes of unknown origin have occurred. In several places, popular demonstrations have sounded encouragements for an extension of the ceasefires and for a peace agreement. Combatants from both sides, authorities and civilians have come together to celebrate Eid.

‘The Afghan people wants peace. There is broad international recognition that the Afghanistan conflict does not have a military solution. It can only be solved through political negotiations. Norway has been working for this for several years,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Eriksen Søreide.

It remains to be seen whether the announced ceasefires can be extended or used by the parties to arrive at the negotiating table sooner.

This afternoon, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani held a speech where he said the government would extend its ceasefire, and he repeated his offer of peace talks. The USA later expressed its full support for an extension of the ceasefires and highlighted its support for negotiations, which would also discuss the future of international military presence in the country.

‘The cease-fire has reduced the level of violence in Afghanistan for a while, and given the Afghan people a pause from the reality of war. I welcome the Afghan government’s ceasefire extension, and encourage the Taliban to do the same. Norway fully supports the proposal for peace talks between the parties in the Afghanistan conflict. This will require bravery and patience, but it is necessary in order to create a lasting peace,’ said the foreign minister.