The Afghan government on Thursday said that the Eid felicitation message by the Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada smells war and panic as the reclusive militant commander asks his fighters to ensure the safety of the people during Eid days.
“My instructions to you are that you give full attention to protecting, helping and comforting your believing nation during Eid days. Take all necessary steps for the well-being and security of your fellow compatriots. Visit the families of martyrs, disabled and prisoners and assist them to the best of your capabilities,” Mr. Akhundzada wrote, a day after the Taliban car bomb in Kabul killed scores of Afghans.
Mr. Akhundzada who like his predecessor Mullah Omar refrains to appear in public has also talked about the peace process and said that the Taliban are tackling the peace talks seriously.
However, he has raised his skepticism over what he described it a conflicting statement of the political and military officials of the US and an increase in the bombardments.
“The people of Afghanistan do not need to hear a message from the Taliban. The Taliban, unfortunately, is still sending the message of war, panic, and fear, the Taliban is the main source of devastations and the killing of civilians,” said President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.
But a spokesman to Taliban’s political office in Qatar Suhail Shaheen has said that working groups from the two sides are moving forward their jobs, stating that the group is striving that all issues are reflected in a potential peace deal with the US.
“Some major breakthroughs were made and the talks are moving on about some remaining issues and hopefully this will be finalized in the near future,” said Mawlavi Abdul Shokor Mutmaeen, the former head of Olympic committee in the Taliban regime.
Pakistan which wields a strong reputation on the Taliban has also assured that it will help in restoring peace in Afghanistan.
“The prime minister is working very hard for the ongoing peace efforts and resolution of the Afghan conflict and to bring an enduring peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
Amid speculations that a possible conflict between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir could also damage the Afghan peace process, the Pakistani diplomat however clarified that Kashmir remains a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan since 1947 and that the issue of Kashmir will not affect the Afghan peace process.
“While Pakistan and the international community is focused on the resolution of the Afghan conflict, India has chosen this time to destabilize the region,” said Pakistani ambassador to Kabul Zahid Nasrullah Khan.
Meanwhile, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in a tweet raised hope that a permanent ceasefire is finally achieved once the talks between the Afghan parties started.
“The focus should be on immediately reducing violence as we move closer to intra-Afghan negotiations that will produce a political roadmap and a permanent ceasefire,” Mr. Khalilzad tweeted on Wednesday.
“All issues will be part of the discussions including a ceasefire, however, we will share the details of this issue later as we wait to see that what may come out of these talks,” said Sibghatullah Ahmadi, spokesman to Ministry of foreign affairs.