ISLAMABAD: Afghan Ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal on Thursday acknowledged Pakistan’s role in the Eid ceasefire in Afghanistan.

Speaking at Ideas Conclave 2018, hosted by the Jinnah Institute, the envoy said: “I must acknowledge Pakistan did have a role in the ceasefire and we are thankful for that.”

This was the first public acknowledgement of Pakistan’s role in the short-lived ceasefire by any Afghan official although it was widely speculated that Pakistan had pushed Taliban to reciprocate President Ashraf Ghani’s unilateral announcement of cessation of hostilities on the occasion of Eidul Fitr.

Taliban observed the ceasefire for only three days and returned to fighting immediately after Eid. Despite the bonhomie observed over Eid, the fighting after Eid was very intense in which scores of Afghan troops lost their lives. President Ghani initially looked hopeful after the revival of ceasefire, but last week he ordered resumption of counter-terrorism operations when Taliban showed no signs of flexibility.

Dr Zakhilwal is, however, still hopeful that Taliban would resume the truce and says Pakistan will have a role in it.

Published in Dawn, July 06th, 2018