Cornelius Zimmermann, NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, who paid a two-day visit to Paktia province, in the east of the country, said Afghans are waiting for a ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the coming days.
The NATO envoy met with people’s representatives, tribal elders and local authorities to discuss the possibility of a new ceasefire between government forces and the Taliban over the Eid al-Adha later this month.
“It is important there are always Ulema (religious scholars), the youth, the civil society, the overall population speak out and say why peace and ceasefire are suitable for them,” said Zimmermann.
He said NATO member states are negotiating with Afghanistan’s neighboring countries to ensure a lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“We are engaging, we as the NATO members states, that the partners and the Resolute Support Mission engaging all neighbors of Afghanistan and very clearly passing on the message that we need their constructive cooperation on Afghanistan,” the NATO ambassador said.
At a meeting with the NATO envoy, Paktia governor Shamim Khan Katawazai said Taliban is no longer capable of fighting against government forces anymore.
“Taliban (militants) are no longer capable of fighting because they don’t have weapons, money and they do not have facilities. Their emotions have been misused. The Taliban leadership has been convinced that they must choose the path of peace,” Katawazai said.
“It is clear for you all that our President (Ashraf Ghani) works hard both on national and international levels to bring peace. I hope that peace will be ensured in the country in the near future,” said Dadan Lawang, Commander of 203 Thunder Corps.
This comes a day after a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in Gardez City, the center of Paktia, on Friday afternoon, killing at least 20 people and wounding 40 others. Eyewitnesses say the death toll is much higher.