On June 7, the Afghan government announced a weeklong ceasefire with the Taliban to coincide with the end of Ramadan. The announced ceasefire would start on June 12 and last through the Eid al-Fitr holiday, until June 19.
On June 9, the Taliban also announced a ceasefire with government forces over the Eid al-Fitr holiday. However, the Taliban-announced ceasefire will last for only three days. It also exludes foreign forces – the US and its NATO allies.
Despite the formal readiness of the sides to obey to the ceasefire terms, sporadic clashes between Taliban fighters and government troops continued throughout the country. For example, on June 10, the Taliban captured three checkpoints of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP) in the district of Pur Chaman of the western province of Farah.
It’s important to note a Russian Foreign Ministry statement on the ceasefire initiative in Afghanistan, which the ministry released on June 8:
“We commend the decision of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to declare a temporary ceasefire in connection with the upcoming end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
We note that the temporary ceasefire was offered only to the Taliban, and does not extend to international terrorist groups, primarily, ISIS. We urge the Taliban to respond positively to this initiative, as this would be a step towards peace, and would allow the Afghan people to celebrate this holiday without having to fear for their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
We confirm our support for efforts to start peace talks between the Government of Afghanistan and the leaders of the Taliban movement for the sake of achieving national reconciliation in long-suffering Afghanistan and ending the fratricidal war.”
With this statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry has once again sent a signal that it recongizes the Taliban as a fully valid member of the Afghan political process and does not describe the movement as a terrorist group.
Previously, the mainstream media has repeatedly claimed that Russia is allegedly supplying weapons to the Taliban. SouthFront’s sources say that active political consultations are ongoing between the Taliban and the Russians. On more topic is joint actions to counter the ISIS expansion in the region.
It’s possible to suggest that in some separate cases Russia indeed may provide support to the Taliban supplying light weapons, ammunition, medicaments and other equipment.