As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in Afghanistan with a total of 22 cases so far, both the Taliban and the Afghan government have reported a reduction in violence.
According to Tolo News, the Afghan Interior Ministry said that 16 attacks took place over the past 24 hours. While on Friday, March 13, the Ministry of Defense reported 95 incidents in 24 hours which included rocket attacks, shelling and roadside bomb blasts in Kapisa, Laghman, Kunar, Balkh, Helmand, Faryab, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Wardak and Logar.
Marwa Amini, deputy spokesperson for the ministry, said that the reduction in violence resulted in “five civilians and security force being killed, and 19 others being injured.” Importantly, the volatile province of Kunduz, which has observed unrelenting clashes has been calm over the last two days, according to the Afghan media citing local officials.
All sides in the conflict observed a truce or seven-day reduction of violence in late February after the US-Taliban peace deal in Doha, Qatar on February 29. This was to be followed up with prisoners swap agreement but President Ghani publicly said he would not release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
After having negotiated a historic peace deal with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad flew to Kabul to work on the intra-Afghan dialogue and the prisoner saw agreement. Instead, Khalilzad has since been mostly occupied mediating between Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, as both claim to have won the September 28th presidential election.
“As the coronavirus sweeps the world causing public health crisis and potential economic crisis…it is strange that the political leadership cannot find a way to resolve their differences and unite the country both in the interests of public health but also peace,” NATO senior civilian representative to the country Nick Kay in a video message released via Twitter