Tagab residents urge truce until harvest
MAHMOOD RAQI (Pajhwok): Residents of the Tagab district of central Kapisa province on Monday urged security forces and militants to observe a ceasefire until they harvested pomegranates and plums.
They feared if the clashes between security forces and insurgents continued, they would be unable to harvest the ripe fruits and could plunge into deep financial crisis.
Khyber, a resident of the district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that tribal elders had discussed the issue both with the government and the armed opposition. The government has already accepted the call for a ceasefire but the insurgents are yet to respond.
Khyber added security forces in many parts of the district had stopped the battle and receiving artillery and mortar shells but the rebels continued to launch attacks in the Shakot area.
Retaliation to these attacks by security forces often resulted in casualties among locals and damage to their orchards, the resident lamented.
A resident of the Tetarkhel area, Mohammad Zahir, said insurgents often attacked security forces from fruit orchards, which got damaged when the forces returned fire.
He said residents could not force the government or the armed rebels to stop fighting and bore the brunt of the situation.
The residents urged the parties to the conflict to stop fighting until locals harvested pomegranates and plums from their orchards.
Governor Mehrabuddin Sapi said security posts had been established in many parts of the Tagab district to maintain security.
He said the insurgents used people’s houses and orchards as bastions for their attacks on security forces, who retaliated in self-defence.
On the other hand, the Taliban said they had not been requested by Tagab residents to accept a ceasefire.
The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said if residents requested a ceasefire, they would definitely consider it.
“We are trying to contact our fighters in all areas where people have fruit orchards to suspend their operations but stay alert in order the opposition does not take advantage of the ceasefire.”
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