A spokesman for the Afghan government’s negotiating team in Doha said that the armed group’s proposal is “big demand.”
A senior negotiator from the Afghan government said on Thursday that the Taliban had proposed a three-month ceasefire in exchange for the release of thousands of fighters held in prisons because the armed group controlled a key border crossing with Pakistan.
Nader Nadery, spokesman for the Afghan government’s negotiating team in Doha, Qatar’s capital, said this is a “big need.” The peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan leaders in Doha have stalled for several months.
“The Taliban proposed a three-month ceasefire plan, but in exchange, they demanded the release of 7,000 prisoners and the removal of their leaders from the UN blacklist,” he told reporters in Kabul.
Last year, the Afghan government released nearly 5,000 Taliban prisoners as part of an exchange to help initiate peace talks in Qatar. These measures are part of an agreement between the Taliban and the United States, which also requires the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
A Taliban spokesperson said he only knew of the proposal to cease fire during the upcoming Eid al-Adha.
The Taliban are launching a relentless battle in various parts of Afghanistan. Almost all American and NATO troops have withdrawn from Afghanistan, and the Afghan army is facing a crisis.
Fighters of the organization occupied the Spin Boldak-Chaman border crossing on Wednesday, the second most important border crossing with Pakistan and an important source of income for the Western-backed Kabul government.
In recent weeks, Afghan armed groups have also occupied border crossings with Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The organization has been launching an armed rebellion since it was ousted in a US-led invasion in 2001.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Thursday that the Afghan side of the Chaman border crossing is in the hands of the Taliban. This move prompted Pakistan to close the border on its side.
“A group of unruly mobs of about 400 people tried to force through the gate. They threw stones and forced us to use tear gas,” said a Pakistani security official who asked not to be named, adding that the situation later “got control”.
He said about 1,500 people gathered at the border on Wednesday waiting to cross the border.
The border crossing has direct access to Pakistan’s Balochistan province, where the supreme leader of the Taliban has been stationed for decades.
Kamal Hyder of Al Jazeera from Peshawar, Pakistan reported that “the acquisition of Spin Boldak was unexpected.”
“A humanitarian crisis is beginning to emerge,” Hyde said.
“Thousands of people [were] Run aground on both sides.This is a very busy border because most medical emergencies cross from Afghanistan to Pakistan, because there are better medical facilities and many families [were going to cross] Go to see their relatives, because Eid al-Fitr is approaching. “
On Thursday, the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani government agreed to reopen the border crossing to allow stranded personnel to pass.
‘Casefire to consolidate power’
Islamabad announced on Thursday that it had invited some “Afghan leaders” to participate in the weekend peace meeting, but an aide to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told local media that his government had requested the postponement of the meeting and that politicians had already traveled to Qatar.
Muska Dastageer, a lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan, said that any ceasefire proposal by the Taliban could be an attempt to consolidate the position they quickly gained in recent weeks.
“The ceasefire now will effectively prohibit (Afghan army) from retaking key border points recently occupied by the Taliban,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I think the timing of this ceasefire proposal is more related to their desire to consolidate power in these areas.”