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“Most members” of Taliban councils support ceasefire: Sources

KABUL (TOLO News): A source familiar with the peace talks in Qatar said Thursday that “most members” of the Taliban councils in Pakistan have agreed to establish a temporary ceasefire.

The source, however, says the final decision about the ceasefire will be made by the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.

The source says that the Quetta Council of the Taliban, which is mostly military, still has questions about the decision.

“It is said that the Peshawar council, which has the largest number of Taliban leaders, has made a positive decision on the ceasefire, but when the Taliban delegation went to Quetta, the Quetta council, which is mostly military, had different views on the ceasefire,” said Sami Yousufzai, a freelance journalist in Doha.

Although the Taliban have not officially announced anything, Jalaluddin Shinwari, a former member of the Taliban, believes that eventually the views of the group’s politicians and militaries will be coordinated, and he downplays divisions between both:

“Every decision taken by the leadership is obeyed, based on Sharia. But since a discussion is an Islamic principle, there must be some discussion between the political leaders and military commanders of the (Taliban),” said Shinwari.

Afghan politicians have also discussed over the past few days how to form a delegation to participate in intra-afghan talks.

“The Afghan government unfortunately did not want to include politicians (not in the government), but the Taliban did not accept it. We wanted to come together in one group and create an inclusive body,” said Mohammad Ismail Khan, a former mujahideen leader.

Meanwhile, The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, called on the parties involved in the war in Afghanistan to reach a political agreement, to not harm civilians, and to announce a permanent ceasefire.

“The United Nations urges all stakeholders to seek ways to reduce levels of violence, especially the violence which harms civilians, on the way to a lasting political settlement and a permanent ceasefire. Implementing a reduction of violence is also important in creating an environment that enables constructive intra-Afghan talks on peace to take place,” Yamamoto said in the statement.

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