For the first time in Afghanistan’s 17-year-old war with the Taliban, a ceasefire was announced by the government during the last days of the Ramzan month. The gesture was reciprocated by the insurgent group, albeit only for three days.
These three days saw unexpected geniality from both parties, with Taliban fighters entering Afghan cities and being welcomed graciously by the locals. Most major cities, including Kabul, witnessed a surge of Taliban fighters marching on the streets, greeting locals and interacting with the Afghan officials and security forces, whom they otherwise target with brutal inconsideration. According to a government source, about 30,000 fighters entered cities across Afghanistan.
“This Id was unlike any other we’ve experienced in our lives. For the first time, there was no fear of explosion or attacks,” said Haji Farhad, 32, an ice cream shop owner who met several Taliban fighters. “Meeting them was such an unusual experience. I had never seen a Taliban fighter before, but they seemed normal and just like us. They have been coming here for the last two days to eat ice cream,” he said, adding that all the fighters he spoke to wanted the conflict to end peacefully. “I hope they have learned their lessons and have decided to change their ways,” Mr. Farhad added, with much hope.
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