Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US supports a new Afghan ceasefire, saying it is “time for peace” and that the US is ready to facilitate peace talks between the two sides. Direct US involvement may not be publicly accepted by the Taliban, but again may be tacitly allowed if they believe it will lead to a US withdrawal.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced a ceasefire for the upcoming holiday of Eid al-Adha. He says the ceasefire is “conditional” and will last only as long as the Taliban chooses to respect and abide by it.
A similar ceasefire was declared and followed by both sides for Eid al-Fitr, though the Taliban declined to extend it after the feast was over. The Taliban issued a statement over the weekend warning that true peace was not possible so long as US occupation forces remain in Afghanistan.
That said, analysts say they believe the Taliban will ultimately accept this new ceasefire, even if they decline to publicly announce that they have. The public broadly has supported holiday ceasefires, and the Taliban would not want to undermine its public image by declining it.
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