Destitution and Hunger Must Be Addressed to Achieve Peace

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban to last until June 20. The ceasefire comes after Muslim clerics in Afghanistan issued a fatwa—or religious ruling—against suicide bombings, after an attack Monday, claimed by ISIS, killed 14 people who had gathered for a clerics’ peace summit in Kabul. This comes as the BBC is reporting that the number of bombs dropped by the US Air Force has surged dramatically since President Trump announced his Afghanistan strategy and committed more troops to the conflict last August; new rules of engagement have made it easier for US forces to carry out strikes against the Taliban. We speak to Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end US military and economic warfare. She has made many trips to Afghanistan and just returned from a trip this week.

AMY GOODMAN: We end today’s show in Afghanistan, where Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban to last until June 20th. This was President Ghani’s first unconditional offer of a ceasefire since his election in 2014. The US has said it will honor the ceasefire against the Taliban.

We go to Chicago, where we’re joined by Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end US military and economic warfare. She has made many trips to Afghanistan and just returned from Afghanistan this week.

Kathy, if you can explain what’s just taken place? How significant is this ceasefire?

KATHY KELLY: Well, it’s very difficult to imagine a ceasefire with the multiple groups of insurgents in Afghanistan today. The Taliban are certainly the strongest, but they’re one group amongst many insurgent groups who have made steady attacks all through the year. And so it’s a very, very tense time.

But a lasting peace in Afghanistan would require a way to deal with the destitution, with the unemployment, with the inability of people to feed their…

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