The Taliban are on the rise in Afghanistan. Now they have proposed a three-month cease-fire to the government. But the price is high.
In the midst of their offensives in Afghanistan, the Taliban have offered a three-month ceasefire, according to the government. In return, the radical Islamic militia have demanded the release of 7,000 of their captured fighters, and they also want their executives to be removed from the United Nations blacklist, said Kabul’s negotiator at the peace talks with the Taliban, Nader Naderi, on Thursday. He spoke of an “enormous demand”.
The peace talks between the Taliban and the government have been going on since last September but are not progressing. They are made even more difficult by the advance of radical Islamic fighters in many parts of the country. There are growing concerns that the Taliban will be able to regain power in the Hindu Kush after the NATO forces have completely withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Fought over border crossing
On Wednesday the Taliban announced the capture of Spin Boldak, an important border crossing into Pakistan. As a result, the Pakistani government closed the transition. Since then, according to Pakistani border guards, around 1,500 people have gathered at the crossing to get to Afghanistan.
Afghan security forces are said to have recaptured the border crossing, according to government sources. The marketplace, the customs authorities and other government institutions were brought back under control after a few hours, a high-ranking government official told the Reuters news agency on Thursday. A spokesman for the Islamists rejected the information as propaganda by the government in Kabul. The Taliban would still hold the section of the border.
The border crossing is important for the Islamist militia because it is a connection to the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, which has served the insurgents as a refuge for decades. A road leads directly to Karachi and its port. It is considered the hub for the billion dollar heroin trade in Afghanistan, an important source of income for the Taliban.