After a Ramadan that has been difficult for many in Afghanistan, there is finally some better news: the Taleban have announced a three-day ceasefire to mark Eid ul-Fitr and the Afghan government has reciprocated. Acknowledging that the many people who have lost dear ones in the brutal violence this spring or are afflicted by coronavirus will have a difficult Eid this year, the Afghanistan Analysts Network would still like to wish a happy Eid to the people of Afghanistan, to all Muslims and to our friends and readers. We hope the peace continues beyond this holiday.The Kot-e Sangi Bazaar in Kabul during the run-up up to Eid. Photo: Ali Sina Sorush, 20 May 2020.
In 2018 when Afghanistan saw its first break from violence for many years, with the simultaneous ceasefires announced by government, US military and Taleban, we wrote of how important it was for allowing Afghans to be able to imagine their country at peace.
What happened over Eid was deeply subversive, politically and militarily dangerous to any party wanting to prolong the conflict. It demonstrated that a ceasefire, held to completely by both sides, is possible. It revealed a strong peace camp among Afghans that crosses frontlines, and it opened up the imaginative space for Afghans to see what a future without violence could look like. Perhaps most significantly, it allowed human contact between enemies.
Unfortunately, of course, the war continued. Still we hope that this Feast of Breaking the Fast ushers in more than a lull in the violence, and gives us a chance to, as Saadi says, appreciate that we are all members of one human community. (1)
بنی آدم اعضای یکدیگرند
که در آفرینش ز یک گوهرند
چو عضوی به درد آورد روزگار
دگر عضوها را نماند قرار
تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی
نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی
Human beings are members of a whole
In creation of one essence and soul
If one member is afflicted with pain
Other members uneasy will remain
If you have no sympathy for human pain
The name of human you cannot retain
(1) This comes from story 10 of chapter 1 of Saadi’s book Golestan (The Flower Garden). Find the full story in Dari/Persian here and its English translation here.
This article was last updated on 24 May 2020