The Afghan Taliban have rejected an appeal for a ‘Ramazan truce’ from the government-backed peace council, saying Muslims have emerged victorious in wars fought during the holy month.
The Afghan High Peace Council had earlier asked insurgents to stop fighting and show respect for the holy month of Ramazan which started across Afghanistan on July 20.
A senior member of the council, Mohammad Esmail Qasemyar urged the Taliban to avoid bloodshed, saying Ramazan was the best time to kick-start peace talks. Qasemyar added that the Taliban “must take advantage of this opportunity”.
The Taliban, however, are in no mood to call a time-out in fighting.
“Those who invaded our homeland and those who have supported the invaders do not deserve any mercy on any day or any specific month,” Afghan Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The Express Tribune.
Mujahid sees their fight not as a traditional war, but a ‘sacred obligation’.
“We will not stop our jihad as Muslims have achieved historic victories in the month of Ramazan. It is an obligation in Islam and we will be committing a sin if we stop this war.”
Mujahid added that if the truce appeal was actually aimed at avoiding civilian casualties then everyone, including the government, should come forward and take immediate remedial steps. “We will use all our manpower and try to not harm civilians in our attacks.”
Another insurgent group Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, led by former Afghan premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, also ruled out a ceasefire, saying it would only stop attacks once foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan pull out.
“The Battle of Badr was fought on Ramazan 17, which is a lesson for all Muslims and Afghans to fight foreign invaders,” said HIA spokesman Haroon Zarghoon referring to a battle led by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in 624AD.
Zarghoon said his group had suspended talks with the Karzai administration after it signed a strategic pact with the United States, adding the accord would pave the way for permanent presence of US forces in Afghanistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2012.