President Karzai orders ceasefire for Peace Day

16 Sep 2009

President Karzai orders ceasefire for Peace Day

KABUL - Just days after the United Nations along with other organizations asked all parties to “silence their guns” on Peace Day, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai today declared a ceasefire on 21 September 2009. Download the official message in English, Dari and Pashto

In a statement issued by the President to the Afghan people, he “order(ed) every member of the Afghan Armed Forces not to resort to force on this day, except when attacked.”

President Karzai further called upon “international forces, stationed in Afghanistan, not to resort to force, but for defensive reasons. Taking this opportunity I would also call on those who are fighting against our country, for whatever reason, to cease fire in honor of this day”.

This move by the President comes just five days before Peace Day.

The United Nations has been leading efforts to campaign for peace by organising and supporting events, country-wide, throughout the month of September.

Earlier today, the Special-Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan Kai Eide, called on all parties to abandon violence on Peace Day, and urged for a halt to the ongoing conflict and instead focus on peace.

He said: "I appeal to all those who fight, to demonstrate on that one day – 21 September – that there is a readiness to seek peace and to do that by stopping the fighting across the country, at least on that one day."

A similar ceasefire was declared by the Afghan government and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Taliban last year, that resulted in a 70 per cent drop in security incidents on the day.

Twenty-first September is observed as Peace Day, world-wide, each year. It began in 2001, when the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution establishing an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

By Aditya Mehta, UNAMA