No reports have been made on Tuesday, the first day of Eid, about attacks by the Taliban or clashes in contested districts between the government forces and the militant group, despite there being no announced agreement on a ceasefire. The cessation of fighting allowed Afghans to celebrate the beginning of the holiday with calm.
The Afghan government and Taliban were expected to announce at least a three-day ceasefire during this Eid, but it did not happen despite a high-level meeting in Doha between representatives of both sides.
“We are ready to thwart any plan by the enemy,” said Dadan Lawang, Commander of the Afghan Army’s 203 Thunder Corps.
TOLOnews reporter Hasiba Atakpal who visited a security forces post on the outskirts of Gardez city in Paktia said there were some soldiers who did not visit their families for five months, and many have remained at their posts rather than going to their homes to celebrate Eid.
One of those soldiers on duty is Zikrullah, an army officer who says he hasn’t visited his family for the last five months and that during 10 years of service, he has always celebrated Eid festivals with his comrades.
“Every day in which we are in our strongholds and the people are happy is a happy day and Eid for us,” Zikrullah said.
The security forces pledged that they will soon retake control of areas that have fallen to the Taliban in the province.
“We are ready to defend the country” said Shafiqullah, a soldier.
“I assure you that the fallen districts will be retaken by us,” said Mohammad Ghani, a solider.
Acting Defense Minister Gen. Bismullah Mohammadi visited Paktia province on Tuesday to meet with his soldiers on the frontlines.
He said that Afghan forces are fighting for peace, not for the continuation of war.
“We should have reached an agreement in the last 25 years, but you witnessed that the Taliban dominated a specific part of Afghanistan but could not get a result. Conflicts continued, and they did some deeds in Kabul and other areas, but none were acceptable to the people of Afghanistan,” Mohammadi said.
Tribal elders and members of the provincial council in Paktia said they support the government forces but criticized the handover of some districts to the Taliban by some security force members.
“Anyone who is here, especially if they have a military uniform--their character will be judged if they leave a district,” said Abdul Malik Mujahid Zazai, head of Paktia provincial council.
“Our demand is that Paktia should be given air support in its operations,” said Amanullah Zadran, a tribal elder.