FILE – In this May 5, 2020 file photo, graffiti depicts Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the leader of the Taliban delegation, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)
UPDATED 10:38 AM PT – Tuesday, May 11, 2021
The White House has announced a temporary ceasefire agreement with the Taliban and are hopeful of a more long-term truce in the future. On Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price shared the administration’s welcome of the news.
“We welcome their announcement of a three-day cease fire over the upcoming Eid holiday,” he stated. “We call on the Taliban and Afghan leaders to engage seriously in the ongoing peace process to ensure the Afghan people enjoy a future free of terrorism and of senseless violence.”
The ceasefire is set to go into effect on Wednesday, the first night of Eid al-Fitr, also known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast after Ramadan. Although, just hours before the Taliban’s announcement, a roadside bomb detonated near a bus killing around a dozen people and inuring dozens more.
However, the roadside bombing was just one instance marking a dramatic rise in attacks carried out by or linked to Taliban insurgents. While Afghani officials are still largely unwilling to give casualty information to U.S. media, in the last week more than 184 people were confirmed to have been killed by Taliban forces.
That was before Saturday when three explosions shook a Shia neighborhood outside of Kabul. The first explosion was from a car bomb outside of Sayed Al-Shuhada, a girls’ school, just as some children had been let out of class to return home. Then just as the children ran outside, two more blasts went off.
At least 80 people, with one witness saying all but seven or eight of whom were students, were killed and more than 160 were immediately injured. Though the Taliban has denied all involvement, a number of Afghani officials have gone on record saying that this grievous attack was perpetrated by the Taliban. Although, the State Department still has doubts.
Joe Biden was reportedly warned by the spokesperson for the Taliban, who on May 1 said that Biden had missed the withdrawal deadline that was agreed to by the group and President Donald Trump.