Mon, 21 Jun 2021

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"I am hopeful for embracing peace and also calling upon the Taliban militants to change the three-day truce into a permanent cease-fire so as to enable Afghans to have permanent peace," said Bibi Karima, mother of an injured soldier.

by Abdul Haleem

KABUL, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The war-weary Afghans are on Thursday celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the second largest annual religious festival which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month Ramadan amid hope for the return of lasting peace in their war-torn country as the Taliban group declared a three-day cease-fire for the holiday.

"I am hopeful for embracing peace and also calling upon the Taliban militants to change the three-day truce into a permanent cease-fire so as to enable Afghans to have permanent peace," said Bibi Karima, mother of an injured soldier.

The 73-year-old widow, whose son was injured in the Taliban hotbed of southern Helmand province last month, said the outcome of war is nothing more than "killing Afghans and destruction of Afghanistan" and called on the Taliban outfit to extend its cease-fire from three days to a lasting one.

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Like Karima, Afghans from all walks of life have welcomed the three-day cease-fire until late Saturday night for the Eid al-Fitr festival, and urged the Taliban to extend it.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani also welcomed the three-day truce and in his address to the nation after offering the Eid al-Fitr prayer, he urged Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada to give up fighting and join hands to rebuild the war-ravaged country.

Aminuddin Muzafari, a top government official for religious affairs, has also called on Taliban militants to respect Afghan people's demand and give up fighting.

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However, Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for Taliban outfit's liaison office in Doha, was reported to have rejected the demand, saying the truce won't be extended.

Taliban militants intensified their activities after the United States forces started to withdraw from Afghanistan on May 1. They have recently overrun two districts, including a key district in central Wardak province, 35 km west of the national capital Kabul, according to security officials, adding that the Taliban have stepped up violence during the fasting month of Ramadan.

The increasing militancy and violent incidents during Ramadan, according to an independent human rights commission in Afghanistan, have killed more than 220 civilians and injured more than 500 others.

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In the Taliban militants' attack on civilians on May 8, three successive explosions took place outside a girls' high school in Kabul, leaving 85 people dead and more than 150 others injured.

"We are fed up with war, killing and destruction. I am urging the Taliban, the government and all the warring groups to give up fighting and observe permanent cease-fire so as to help to achieve lasting peace for the country," said Mohammad Azam, 47, a war victim in northern Baghlan province.

Azam, who lost his younger brother in a conflict against the Taliban a couple of months ago, told Xinhua with sorrow, "More conflicts mean more killings of Afghans and more destruction of Afghanistan", saying that he believes the time is ripe to make national reconciliation.

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