President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced a ceasefire with the Taliban after a religious scholars meeting in Kabul on Monday where they issued a fatwa against the ongoing war in the country.
“With the ceasefire announcement, we epitomize the strength of the Afghan government and the will of the people for a peaceful resolution to the Afghan conflict,” Ghani said in a video message on the Presidential Palace’s Facebook page.
“This ceasefire is an opportunity for the Taliban to realize that their violent campaign is not winning them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause," Ghani said.
“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan announces a ceasefire from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr following the historic ruling (Fatwa) of the Afghan Ulema," he added.
On Monday more than 2,000 Afghan religious scholars from around the country issued a fatwa, an Islamic directive, saying “the ongoing war in Afghanistan is forbidden under Islamic law”.
For years, Afghanistan has been plagued by violence by militants, who often use suicide bombers and claim that their struggle is a holy war to impose Islamic rule.
“We the scholars of Afghanistan declare this war as unjust and in contradiction to the Sharia (Islamic law). Only the blood of Muslims is shed in this war and nothing else, therefore we issue a fatwa to end this war as soon as possible,” said religious scholar Khuda Bakkhsh Mohseni, while reading the declaration.
“We call on the warring factions to announce a ceasefire,” said Enayatullah Baligh, a religious scholar.
Meanwhile, the religious scholars repeated their call to the Taliban to accept the Afghan government’s “unconditional” peace offer.
“We the religious scholars call on the Taliban to give a positive response to the Afghan government’s peace offer in order to prevent further bloodshed,” the religious scholars said.
At the end of the gathering, a suicide bomber targeted the gathering where 14 people were killed and 17 others wounded.
The explosion happened near a gathering of over 2,000 religious scholars at Loya Jirga, the Grand Assembly, tent close to Kabul Polytechnic University.
Taliban denied any involvement in the attack.