I welcome the announcements by the Taliban to observe a three-day ceasefire for Eid and the Afghan government to reciprocate. We worked hard to achieve this moment, and I hope that this respite from conflict gives Afghan people the space and security they deserve to celebrate Eid, while allowing the Taliban and the government the opportunity to take additional steps toward a peaceful future for their country.
The United States remains committed to the implementation of the U.S.-Taliban agreement and the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration. With the political crisis in Afghanistan resolved, I expect newly named Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and President Ghani to seize the opportunity to remove the remaining obstacles that have delayed the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, starting with releasing prisoners. I expect the Taliban to adhere to their commitment not to allow released prisoners to return to the battlefield. Finally, I expect both leaders of the Afghan government and the Taliban not to escalate violence after Eid. This violence is counterproductive, deepens grievances, and prolongs the suffering of the Afghan people.
Peace is the consistent and overwhelming desire of the Afghan people. We hope this ceasefire can build trust. Next, all sides should work together to build on the momentum of this historic Eid ceasefire to move with urgency to intra-Afghan negotiations.
Eid Mubarak to all Afghans and other Muslims of the world.