After a welcome three-day ceasefire between security forces and the Taliban, the Taliban have reverted to taking up arms again, yet with genial efforts made by the government at continuing the armistice and the spirit of hope and peace fostered through the ceasefire, reconciliation might not be as unattainable as before. Where the ceasefire itself and the ensuing celebration between the soldiers and insurgents were highly unprecedented, it demonstrates how the temporary hiatus in the violence was a wave of respite for both sides. Marking a much welcome turn in the country torn by civil war for 17 years, it was the Taliban’s first ceasefire since the government they ran was toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion.

A testament to the Afghan governments’ efforts at fostering goodwill, Taliban militants were able to receive medical and humanitarian assistance and meet their families. The ceasefire allowed for the first peaceful Eid where citizens felt safe for the first time. The truce itself has been a bittersweet revelation for the people. Where the state of security and peace was short-lived, it was nevertheless a looking-glass into what a war-free Afghanistan would look like and brings more impetus to Mr Ghani’s offering of peace talks “without preconditions” and recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group, on the prerequisite of their respecting the rule of law. The ceasefire signifies that the people and the rebels are weary of the war and allows an inculcation of trust which can evolve into deeper engagement at high-levels.

Such promising signs of reciprocity herald a way forward which can be brokered through peace talks and bilateral dialogue and can stand to be the first glimpse of sustained peace in Afghanistan’s recent history. The reciprocity must be sustained and it seems that the government is making concentrated efforts to ensure just that; with the withdrawal of US forces still a stumbling block, the government is ready to at least discuss the removal of foreign forces which marks a huge evolution in the engagement of the home forces and the jihadists.

It is testament to the latent potency of the ceasefire towards a reconciliation process that, just as the country could envisage peace in the region, the Islamic State’s attack in Nangarhar province, claimed civilians, Taliban members and Afghan soldiers alike. Notwithstanding, the people should not let the carnage mar the spirit of reconciliation and amity. On our end, Pakistan should do its utmost to facilitate dialogue and let hope and peace blossom in the region.