© Reuters. File photo: On July 13, 2021, an Afghan policeman stands guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
Kabul (Reuters)-A few hours after the Afghan rivals failed to reach a ceasefire agreement at the Doha Peace Conference, 15 diplomatic missions and NATO representatives in Afghanistan urged the Taliban to stop military offensives on Monday.
Over the weekend, a delegation of Afghan leaders met with Taliban political leaders in the capital of Qatar, but the Taliban said in a statement late Sunday that it did not mention stopping the escalating violence in Afghanistan.
“This Eid al-Fitr, the Taliban should always lay down their weapons and show the world their commitment to the peace process,” 15 missions and NATO representatives said, referring to the Muslim holiday in Afghanistan on Tuesday.
The statement was supported by senior civilian representatives from Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, and NATO.
During the recent Eid al-Fitr holiday, the Taliban called for a short-term ceasefire, stating that they want the Afghans to spend it in peace.
There was no such announcement this time, because as the US-led foreign troops withdrew after 20 years of fighting, the Taliban quickly acquired territory across the country with an unprecedented level of combat.
Monday’s statement also condemned human rights violations, such as efforts to close schools and media in areas recently occupied by the Taliban. The militants previously denied any such actions.
‘Seeking a solution’
The Taliban said on Monday that they had occupied the Delawood district in Uruzgan province, southwest of Kabul, after violent clashes with government forces the night before. Provincial officials confirmed the Taliban’s advancement.
The military in the area stated that in the northern province of Samangan, security forces managed to retake the Dara-e-Sof Bala area from the rebels, adding that 24 Taliban fighters, including a shadow area chief and two commanders, Has been killed.
There was a clash there on Monday.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the information provided by the military.
President Ashraf Ghani visited the capital of the western province of Herat on Monday. The Taliban have occupied all 17 areas of the province in recent days, except for the capital city of Herat, which is under siege.
The chairman of the Peace Committee, Abdullah Abdullah, who participated in the talks, said on Monday that in Doha, political leaders and the Taliban discussed a political solution to end the conflict.
He said on Twitter: “We agree to continue negotiations to seek a political solution to the current crisis, avoid civilian casualties, and promote humanitarian assistance and medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In a statement later on Sunday, the Taliban stated: “The two sides agreed to conduct an expedition in the peace talks to find a fair and permanent solution to the current problems in Afghanistan as soon as possible.”
Peace talks between the Taliban and well-known Afghans on the government side-the militants refused to recognize or talk to the US-backed government-started in September last year but failed to make any progress.
The Taliban’s spokesman in Doha, Mohamed Naim, denied media reports that the rebel group agreed to a ceasefire on Eid al-Fitr in exchange for the release of its prisoners.