Expressing solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, the United Nations envoy in the country has expressed hope that the temporary ceasefires marking the final days of the holy month of Ramadan in the war-battered nation, will lead to the lasting peace that Afghans so badly “want and deserve.”
In a statement, issued on Thursday, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan urged “all parties to the conflict to honour the announced ceasefires and respect this time of reflection, tolerance and solidarity.”
Earlier this month, the Government of Afghanistan had announced a temporary ceasefire, starting on the 27th day of Ramadan, 12 June, and running through the end of Ramadan on Thursday, into the third day of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival, which begins on Friday.
A few days later, the Taliban also announced a three-day partial ceasefire during Eid al-Fitr.
The “historic” announcements ahead of Eid, Mr. Yamamoto said, “will allow Afghan families across the country to come together peacefully in the days ahead, in what is, for now, a temporary respite from war.”
“I sincerely hope the sense of solidarity marked by this joyful occasion will continue well into the future, enabling the extension of the ceasefires and leading to the peace that all Afghans want and deserve,” he said.
In an opinion piece for the Washington Post on Thursday, Mr. Yamamoto - who also heads the UN Mission in the country, UNAMA - said that both the Afghan government and the Taliban were "tacitly recognizing the growing popular expressions of frustration with the unending war."
"After several years of trying to support peace as the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan," he writes, "I strongly believe that the elements of a potential deal are now discernible through the haze and dust of war."
Noting that the Eid holiday ceasefire was unprecedented in 17 years of conflict, he said that "both agree that Afghanistan should neither be a haven for global terrorists, nor a threat to its neighbours."